A California man is sounding the alarm bell after he found dozens of mail-in ballots mysteriously stuffed inside two Santa Monica trash cans.
The shocking discovery comes as the 2020 presidential election is well under way in terms of absentee and mail-in ballots. Voting by mail took newfound prominence in the national dialogue over the summer as leaders looked for safe methods of conducting a national election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many Americans, therefore, have chosen to cast their vote via mail-in ballot, which Republican critics say increases the possibility of voter fraud.
What are the details?
Osvaldo Jimenez told KABC-TV that he made the alarming discovery last Thursday. Stuffed inside a Santa Monica trash can, Jimenez discovered dozens of official ballots, along with other personal mail items, such as bank statements.
"I opened the trash can, and I see a lot of envelopes and ballots, especially ballot envelopes in the trash can, and I knew right away that was not normal," Jimenez said. "I thought it was somebody playing a prank. Nobody's going to throw ballot envelopes in the trash can."
Jimenez's wife posted pictures of the trashed ballots on social media, KCBS-TV reported.
@SantaMonicaProb @santamonicacity @smdailypress My husband just found all these ballots in the trash can in the all… https://t.co/85h7BSnocI— Soledad ⚾️ (@Soledad ⚾️)1602199199.0
According to KABC, Jimenez recovered the ballots and phoned police.
"If it was my ballot in there, I would want somebody to, you know, recover it," Jimenez told KABC. "Every vote counts, whichever party it is."
Shockingly, Jimenez later discovered even more mail-in ballots in a separate trash can, KABC reported.
How the ballots ended up in the trash cans is not clear. Law enforcement is investigating the incidents, as is the United States Postal Service.
As mail-in ballots play a greater role in the election than they ever have before, there have numerous stories of suspicious activities happening with mail.
For example, the U.S. Postal Service is investigating an incident that happened in Glendale, California, last month in which massive bags of mail were mysteriously dumped in a parking lot.
Then, just last week, a New Jersey mail carrier was arrested after police say he dumped thousands of mail pieces he was supposed to deliver. Among the pieces of discarded mail were 99 ballots.
Meanwhile, an investigation was launched in Virginia last week after six USPS collection boxes were broken into, sparking new fears that mail-in ballots could be compromised or stolen.
Election officials nationwide, however, say that despite mail-in ballots playing a significant role in this year's election, the integrity of the election will not be compromised.