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After Fire, Los Angeles County Will Empty Ballot Drop Boxes Every Day

Voting at a ballot box in Highland Park, Los Angeles. October 17, 2020. Al Kamalizad for LAist
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After a fire in a Baldwin Park ballot drop box, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder says election workers will empty boxes more often — increasing pickups from every 48 hours to every day.

The fire occurred on Sunday night, damaging an unknown number of ballots. L.A. County Fire officials say the incident is being investigated as a possible arson.

“Regardless of the motive of the incident. I know these scenarios might deter people from voting,” said L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis. “But I want to urge you not to let that be the end result.”

Solis also praised George Silva, a local small business owner and witness to the fire who was out for a bike ride when he saw smoke coming from the ballot box. He filmed firefighters cutting it open with a power saw and pulling out charred, water-soaked ballots.

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On Tuesday morning, the Baldwin Park Police Department turned over 230 “pieces of material” to the county, said Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan. “That doesn’t necessarily equate to 230 ballots … we need to go through those individually,” Logan said. That examination should conclude later today, he added.

“In most cases we are able to at least make out the voter information that is printed on the envelope,” Logan said. “So that will give us the ability to contact the voter, which is our priority at this point.”

Before the fire, election workers last picked up ballots from the Baldwin Park location on Saturday morning just after 10 a.m. If you dropped your ballot in the box outside the Baldwin Park library near Ramona Blvd. and Baldwin Park Blvd. after Saturday morning, you should call the L.A. County Registrar’s office at 562-503-2445, or email

We have a map of drop box locations on our Voter Game Plan page. And there’s also a map of voting centers where you can drop off your ballot starting on Oct. 24.


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