Virginia election officials have issued an alert to voters who submitted mail-in ballots at United States Postal Service outdoor mail collection boxes after officials discovered six receptacles spanning multiple counties in the central part of the state were broken into in recent days.
What are the details?
The Virginia Department of Elections sent out a news release Monday warning that "six outdoor mail collection boxes were broken into sometime between Saturday afternoon and this morning."
WWBT-TV reported that "several post offices" called law enforcement to report that the door latches on the busted mail boxes had been "pried open with a tool or force."
Three of the compromised mail boxes were located in Henrico County, two in Chesterfield County, and one in the capital city of Richmond, an independent city.
The announcement stated that "neither the department nor USPS has information about whether any election mail was contained in the boxes," adding that the postal service had launched an investigation.
Mail theft is a federal crime in the United States, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Election authorities noted that voters who fear their ballot might have been dropped into one of the damaged mail boxes can track their ballot online at the state's election website, and reassured them that a new ballot could be issued, if necessary, at their local registrar's office.
According to the Washington Post, "The incidents tapped into worries about the security of mail-in voting at a time when more voters who are worried about being infected by the coronavirus are choosing that option instead of voting in person."
The newspaper added, "President Trump has heightened those worries by repeatedly alleging without evidence that the mail-in voting process is filled with fraud."
Indeed, the security of mail-in voting has become a major political issue with Election Day, Nov. 3, approaching in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Democrats cried foul last week when Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation directing counties in his state to only allow one location for ballot drop-offs.
As TheBlaze reported:
The governor argued the measure would "strengthen ballot security protocols throughout the state" as concerns over voter fraud have increased amid the coronavirus pandemic. The measure also allows for parties to install poll watchers at voting sites to observe ballot deliveries.
Abbott argued, "These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting."