Arson investigators have launched a probe into a fire that erupted inside a ballot drop box in California over the weekend, possibly compromising dozens of votes.
Several completed ballots were destroyed after the blaze broke out at around 8 p.m. on Sunday evening in front of Baldwin Park’s public library in Los Angeles County.
It was not immediately clear how the fire was sparked, but firefighters suggested someone appeared to have purposely tossed burning newspaper into the drop box, local media reported.
Fire crews tasked with responding to the blaze were reportedly forced to insert a hose into the box’s slot to put the fire out.
They later used a chainsaw to cut the drop box open and remove the incinerated ballot papers. Police then took the damaged voting slips.
Arson investigators did not immediately release information about how many ballots were destroyed amid their ongoing investigation into the incident.
The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder’s Office has been asked for comment on what the process will be to find voters who may have had ballots affected by the fire.