A United States Postal Service letter carrier from New Jersey was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly tossing more than 1,800 pieces of mail into dumpsters, including 99 election ballots.
What are the details?
Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, stands accused by federal authorities of throwing away mail he was assigned to deliver on his route in recent days.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey:
Approximately 1,875 pieces of mail – including 627 pieces of first class, 873 pieces of standard class, two pieces of certified mail, 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange, and 276 campaign flyers from local candidates for West Orange Town Council and Board of Education – were recovered from dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange on Oct. 2, 2020, and Oct. 5, 2020. The mail had been scheduled to be delivered on Sept. 28, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2, 2020, to addresses on certain postal routes in Orange and West Orange. On the delivery dates for which mail was recovered, Beauchene was the only mail carrier assigned to deliver mail to the addresses on the recovered mail.
The USPS told WCBS-TV that the discarded mail has since been delivered.
Beauchene was charged with one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail. The first offense could land him in prison for up to 5 years with a $250,000 fine, and the second is punishable by up to 6 months in the slammer and $5,000 in fines.
The Daily Mail reported that Orange and West Orange are both in Essex County, New Jersey, which voted "overwhelmingly" for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. The outlet noted that Clinton garnered more than 240,000 votes in the county compared to then-candidate Donald Trump's 63,000-or-so votes.
According to the New York Post, the New Jersey incident comes "amid fears over mail-in voting dysfunction in the 2020 presidential race." The Post pointed to the chaos in New York City after as many as 140,000 residents were mailed absentee ballots with either wrong name and address — or another person's ballot altogether.
An investigation was also launched in Virginia this week, where election officials warned that six USPS collection boxes were broken into in multiple counties, sparking fears that mail-in ballots could have been stolen.