Los Angeles ballot drop-off box catches fire in suspected arson

As many as 200 ballots were destroyed in Los Angeles when an election drop-off box was set ablaze.

Police are investigating the Sunday night fire outside the Baldwin Park Library in LA County as arson, the Mercury News reported.

“This is the only occurrence of damage like this so far,” Mike Sanchez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office, told the outlet. “This is the very first.”

Sanchez said there are more than 400 election drop-off boxes in the county.

Nonetheless, the registrar is asking the FBI and state Attorney General’s Office to investigate the blaze.

Firefighters were called to Baldwin Park and Ramona boulevards around 8 p.m. Sunday and doused the flames by sticking a hose in the slot and cutting the box open with a chainsaw, CBS News said in a report.

“I noticed the smoke coming out of the ballot box,” eyewitness George Silva told the station. “It was pretty heavy.”

Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano told CBS that more than 200 ballots were involved, but it was unclear how many were destroyed.

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn said Monday that voters whose ballots were ruined will receive new ones in the mail.

The ballot-box fire comes after California Republicans were accused of setting up unauthorized drop-off boxes in the state, with party leaders later announcing they had no plans to remove the phony boxes despite a cease-and-desist order.

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