Police in the city east of Seattle said on Friday that numerous ballots had been stolen from people’s mailboxes and placed or thrown away.
The post office warned the Sammamish police department that “unopened or incomplete ballots were improperly placed in mailboxes,” the city of Sammamish said on Friday.
Police also investigated bags of mail containing ballots on roadsides and ditches.
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The postal service delivered about 90% of the ballots to Sammamish on Thursday, and the discarded mail was found on Friday morning when carriers were delivering other packages.
Law enforcement officers are trying to forward the ballots back to their intended recipients.
The incident is the latest in a series of ballots in which voters have tried to avoid polling stations during a coronavirus pandemic.
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This week, 112 mailboxes were found in a dump in Jefferson, Kentucky.
A postal worker in New Jersey was arrested earlier this month after 1,875 mail items were found there, including 99 mail ballots.
Two mail workers were arrested and charged with throwing a pile of mail this week in the critical state of Pennsylvania on the battlefield.
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Despite these problems, ballots appear to be largely secure and fraudulent. According to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, only 208 of the 1,298 proven voter fraud cases in the past two decades have been related to ballots for lack of mail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.