Boston: In the run-up to the tense presidential election in the United States, an unidentified person on Sunday set fire to a ballot drop box outside the Boston Public Library Main Branch. The fire was set at approximately 4 a.m. The Federal Bureau of Investigation plans to take up investigation in what appears to be a ‘deliberate attack’.
After the firefighters extinguished the flames, an initial inventory conducted by the Boston Elections Department showed there were 122 ballots inside the charred dropbox when it was emptied this morning, 87 of which were legible and able to be processed. The dropbox had last been emptied by the department last at 2:29 p.m. on Saturday.
Massachusetts Mayor Marty Walsh and Secretary of State William Galvin in a joint statement said that the act is ‘a disgrace to democracy.’ Galvin said that he has contacted U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office and asked that the FBI investigate what appears to be a deliberate attack.
Amid concerns over malicious attacks on drop boxes, Galvin has also directed all local election officials to increase security around drop boxes, including employing dropbox guards and video surveillance and to empty drop boxes frequently.
Affected voters will be mailed a replacement ballot by the City of Boston and will have the option of casting that replacement ballot or voting in person until 8 p.m. on Election Day, officials said. If any affected voter does not submit a new ballot, their original ballot will be hand-counted to the extent possible.
Early voting began last Saturday in Massachusetts, and more than 2 million residents have already cast their ballots in person or by mail.