Nearly 20 stolen ballots were found under a rock in Arizona over the weekend, according to the state attorney general’s office.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced on Tuesday, Election Day, that 18 unopened mail ballots were recovered last week in Glendale. The attorney general’s office noted that they have since been hand-delivered back to the registered voters.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Ballots Were Stolen From People’s Mailboxes, the Attorney General Says
The ballots were found on Friday, October 30, by Brayan Ruiz, who works at local Rovey Farms, the Glendale Police Department stated on Facebook.
“He did the right thing by returning the ballots trying to ensure everyone who wanted to vote early still could vote,” the department wrote.
Investigators said they believe the votes were stolen from individual mailboxes in a neighborhood, according to a news release from the state attorney general’s office.
“The ballots were stolen from individual mailboxes in a neighborhood just south of 107th and Northern avenues,” Brnovich said. “The envelopes were still sealed.”
Police said the voters were aware that their ballots had not been counted.
“Each resident said they were aware their early election ballots had not arrived. Some went in person to vote early, and others had not voted yet,” Glendale police wrote on Facebook.
“We were able to distribute them in time, to provide voters the opportunity to at least fill them out at home and then drop them off to a polling location.”
A motive for stealing the ballots has not yet been identified and no arrests have been made.
Voting by Mail Slightly Increases the Risk of Having Your Vote Lost, According to the Washington Post
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.
It Could Take Several Days or Longer to Know Who Won, but a Biden Landslide Would Make an Election Night Race Call Possible
With an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots this election due to the coronavirus pandemic, the chances are slim of determining an official Electoral College winner before midnight Eastern time.
Although it could take several days to officially determine the next president, a Biden “landslide” would make a race call on election night possible, Heavy reported.
However, the Democratic presidential candidate’s fate could be complicated by two battleground states, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Both are unlikely to have conclusive results by the end of November 3, according to Drew McCoy, Decision Desk HQ’s president.
“The ability to call 270 electoral votes on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (2-4am) depends on how quick states like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin are in counting their ballots,” McCoy said in an email to Heavy. “Factors such as how close the races are, which states will still be accepting ballots after election day, and how long it takes them to process absentee votes will determine whether or not we reach the mark for either candidate in that window.”
Nonetheless, there are 270 electoral votes worth of states that are expected to process their ballots fairly quickly on Tuesday, November 3. Biden’s best shot for a landslide victory is to win a combination of either Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and Texas.