SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Registered voters in Los Angeles County should be receiving their ballots this week if they have not already, but some voters in the Crenshaw District might have to wait even longer after a number of ballots were found discarded.
“I guess most people were just driving over them and ignoring them,” Kandace Rushiddin said. “So I took my paper towel and I grabbed the ones I could.”
Rushiddin said she was emotional after finding five ballots on the ground at a drive-thru ATM outside of the Bank of America at 29th and Crenshaw Boulevard.
“You know, is this intentional?” Rushiddin said. “Is this meant to suppress the vote? I don’t know.”
She said there were more ballots, but she was not able to grab them.
“You know, I know lies are being told,” she said. “People are talking about they found them in creeks, and that turned out to be a lie. So I’m thinking, ‘OK, this isn’t happening,’ and then what do I drive up on? You know, it’s just very disheartening.”
It turned out that all of the ballots were addressed to residents of an apartment complex less than a mile away from where they were found.
“That’s scary,” Mars Quinonez, a resident of the complex, said. “But, honestly, our building constantly gets broken into.”
She also said mail theft was a common occurrence at the complex.
“So sometimes I’ll come in and all these are all open,” she said. “And then, like I said before, they’ve like actually broken into them.”
Cell phone video previously taken by Quinonez shows one such incident when an unknown person broke into the mail boxes, leaving them all open with letters exposed.
And while she said she received her ballot, she said she was concerned for her neighbors.
“It’s worrisome, because how are you going to vote?” she said. “Or some people might still be waiting for their ballots thinking that they’ll just come later and not get them and by the time they realize and ask for another one it might be too late.”
The Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office says that if someone finds a ballot, or receives a ballot not addressed to them, they should contact the office immediately. Office staff will then suspend the recovered ballot and issue the voter a new one.
The registrar’s office also says it has a number of protocols in place to prevent voter fraud like signature verification with a voter’s signature on their ballot being matched to one on file before it is counted.
Those who have yet to receive their ballot can track its progress by signing up for text message or email alerts on the California Secretary of State’s website.