Mail that was stolen, including numerous ballots, were found discarded in multiple bags by roadsides and ditches in Seattle, officials said.
Brian Zinser, the postmaster of the Redmond Post Office, also said he warned the Sammamish Police Department that “unopened or incomplete ballots have been inappropriately placed in out-going mail bins,” according to a statement from the City of Sammamish.
The inappropriately placed mail included about 30 Sammamish ballots and six Issaquah ballots, according to the local outlet MyNorthWest. All of the ballots were unopened and the motive is currently unclear.
Officials on Friday sent out a warning to Sammamish residents, a city located just east of Seattle, about the mail theft, and are asking people to check and empty mailboxes often to avoid the theft, which is common going into the holiday season.
“Please check and empty your mailboxes often; and please keep them locked,” the statement reads. “If you do not have a lock on your mailbox, please consider getting one through the post office.”
United States Postal Service (USPS) officials, together with the police department, are currently working on returning the stolen mail and ballots to their rightful owners.
Sammamish Police Chief Dan Pingrey told MyNorthWest that mail theft is not uncommon in the area, but does not believe himself the crime was politically motivated.
“We do have, throughout the entire Eastside, a lot of mail theft, because people take advantage of that to do fraud, forgery, identification theft, et cetera,” the police chief told the network. “It’s constant. And obviously, when it occurs now, they’re also getting ballots.”
The stolen ballots were discovered by Amazon employees who were at the time delivering other packages, officials said.
USPS also announced they have already delivered about 90 percent of ballots in the city. They also want to remind people who haven’t received their ballot by Oct. 19 to call King County Elections to get a replacement.
News of mail voting issues have piled up in recent months as a record number of Americans are expected to vote remotely, because of concerns about the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus and related lockdown measures that make in-person voting more difficult.
Democrats have been promoting mail voting as a convenience and safety precaution, while Republicans have cautioned against it, raising concerns of fraud and mismanagement.
While Democrat and Republican groups both have filed lawsuits this year over vote-by-mail rules across the country, most of the more than 100 lawsuits are backed by Democrats.
Epoch Times reporter Petr Svab contributed to this report.