A California thief broke into a neighborhood mailbox and dropped several absentee ballots, according to local news outlets, prompting fears that others were stolen.
On Friday, November 6, Sami Wahhab of San Francisco watched from an apartment as several people broke into a mailbox outside of his corner store, according to ABC7. The Reliance Market owner told the station that he saw a thief drop “at least one ballot.”
“[I got] really upset when I [saw this was] happening,” Wahab expressed to the local news outlet. “We really need to have a fair election.”
He added to SFist that he is worried more ballots were stolen or lost throughout the process, the outlet reported.
“My concern is that ballots get stolen so the votes don’t count,” Wahab disclosed to SFist.
The San Francisco man found one ballot on the ground, covered in “glue,” by the back of his store, according to KRON4, and another in the sewer.
Wahhab said he reported the incident to local police, the station continued.
The U.S. Postal Service is currently investigating the theft, SFist noted. It is “actively looking into the incident and is asking that anyone with information regarding the crime contact them at 1-877-876-2455.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Surveillance Footage Shows a Man Using a ‘Stringed Contraption’ to ‘Fish’ Through the Mailbox, According to Local Media
— KRON4 News (@kron4news) November 3, 2020
Reliance Market surveillance cameras documented the incident and showcase the thief using a homemade device to dig into the mail, KRON4 reported.
“A wire or something with a plate that had glue so he was pushing it and stealing the mail out of the box,” Wahhab told the station.
“He did it so many times he would hit it and bring mail out and go and come back,” he continued. “The car kept going up the hill and back.”
The thief, who appears to be a male sporting an oversized grey hoodie with a forward-facing cap, is seen maneuvering “some sort of stringed contraption” to “fish” through the mailbox, SFist added.
The culprit then pulls up “letters and ballots,” according to the surveillance video obtained by ABC7. The video shows the man quickly flee in “what looks like an early-2000s gray Toyota Corolla,” SFist continued.
Voting by Mail Slightly Increases the Risk of Having Your Vote Lost, According to the Washington Post
With an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots this election due to the coronavirus pandemic, widespread concern over whether the 2020 presidential race would be more susceptible to fraud exploded in the weeks leading up to November 3.
Decision Desk HQ, and other outlets, named Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Saturday, November 7, as the 46th president-elect, defeating President Donald Trump in his bid for reelection.
However, Trump is demanding a recount in several key battleground states, including Wisconsin, Georgia and possibly Pennsylvania, USA Today reported.
The president has repeatedly made “baseless claims” throughout his campaign about the process of counting mail-in ballots, the outlet continued.
“Trump voters were more likely to come out on Election Day, and Biden’s supporters were more likely to vote early,” USA Today said. “So as absentee ballots expected to favor Biden were counted, the former vice president began eating into Trump’s day-of leads.”
“In other key states, absentee ballots have been processed for weeks. Some early results favored Biden, before day-of votes were counted, which favored Trump.”
Mail ballots face an increased risk of getting lost of about 3.5% to 4.9%, depending on which state they are cast in, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Lost votes, a term coined by the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project (VTP) in its 2001 report “Voting: What Is/What Could Be,” are votes that are not counted in the election, the newspaper continued.
The Post, citing a “forthcoming article in the Harvard Data Science Review” to “quantify how much riskier it is for someone to vote by mail than in person,” referenced several scenarios in which a vote could be lost. The analysis listed the following scenarios:
The ballot application could get lost in the mail; the local election office could lose the application or deny it; the ballot might not make it back to the voter, for instance, getting lost in the mail; and the marked ballot might not make it from the voter back to the local election office. Even if the ballot arrives, it could be rejected because it arrived late or lacked a signature.