More than 100 unopened absentee ballots were discovered in a Kentucky dumpster, which has resulted in one U.S. Postal Service employee being terminated following an investigation.
The undelivered ballots, which had been sent out Oct. 3, were found in a dumpster on Thursday by a contractor renovating a home in eastern Jefferson County. The ballots, which were not filled out and intended for voters in the 40299 ZIP code, were found in the dumpster mixed in with other mail, according to the Courier-Journal.
Nore Ghibaudy, the spokesperson for the Jefferson County Clerk's office, said he was "a little taken aback" by the incident. He added that some of the voters had contacted the office over concerns that they had yet to receive their absentee ballots.
U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General special agents found 112 ballots as well as two political flyers in the trash. The ballots and flyers were returned to the Postal Service to be delivered to their rightful owners, according to Special Agent Scott Balfour.
Balfour said on Friday that the USPS employee had been fired, adding, "federal privacy concerns preclude me from providing any more details about their employment."
The case has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Balfour said.
"When the investigation is concluded, the case will be presented for federal prosecution to the U.S. Attorney's Office," he said.
Balfour said that these such incidents involving mail-in ballots are "exceedingly rare."
Also on Thursday, a waste collector claimed he found two ballots in a dumpster in Sandy, Utah, outside of Salt Lake City.
"I dumped a can today and I'm finding f***ing ballots in the garbage can, pardon my French, just mad," said Charles West on video.
"I think it's very important that we have a secure vote and peoples information isn't compromised, I mean this opens these people up to fraud it opens these people up to everything, I'd be terrified if my name was on that ballot," West told KSTU.
Last week, a California man discovered dozens of mail-in ballots discarded inside two trash cans in Santa Monica.
Two weeks ago, a United States Postal Service letter carrier from New Jersey was arrested for purportedly casting aside over 1,800 pieces of mail, including 99 election ballots, into dumpsters.
Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Elections announced that six outdoor mail collection boxes were broken into, and had been "pried open with a tool or force."
Balfour said people could report crimes committed by postal employees by calling the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General hotline at 888-USPS-OIG or visiting uspsoig.gov.