Arson investigators: More than 200 ballots recovered from Baldwin Park drop box after fire

County officials have contacted the FBI and the state attorney's general's office to assist in the investigation.
BALDWIN PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- More than 200 ballots were inside a Baldwin Park drop box that burned in a fire whose cause is suspected to be arson, officials said.

Los Angeles County's top election official said Tuesday that a "significant number" of the ballots were recovered and affected voters' information can be retrieved in the "vast majority of cases."

No other arsons or vandalism have been reported at any of the approximately 400 other drop boxes throughout the county, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said.

According to Logan, about "230 pieces of material'' were recovered from the box and turned over to election officials.
EMBED More News Videos

Investigators are searching for the person who set a fire inside a ballot drop box in Baldwin Park on purpose, potentially compromising dozens of votes.


"That doesn't necessarily equate to 230 ballots, although it could be close to that, so we need to go through those individually,'' he said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department said someone purposely tossed burning newspaper into the official drop box about 8 p.m. near Baldwin Park and Ramona boulevards.

One passerby told ABC7 that the box looked like a chimney with smoke billowing out of it.

Firefighters shoved a hose through the box opening to extinguish the flames and later used an electrical saw to cut it open.

The fire is being investigated as a suspected act of arson. County officials have contacted the FBI and the California attorney's general's office to assist in the investigation.

RELATED: What you need to know about ballot drop boxes ahead of 2020 election
EMBED More News Videos

Hundreds of ballot drop boxes are being installed across Los Angeles County, giving residents another option for casting their ballots in the 2020 election.


Logan and County Supervisor Hilda Solis, meanwhile, said the incident should not discourage people from taking advantage of the drop boxes to cast their vote.

"Regardless of the motive of the incident, I know this scenario might deter people from voting, but I want to urge you not to let that be the end result,'' Solis said. "So many of you and your families, and your ancestors have fought so hard for us to have the right to vote, and that includes the very residents in Baldwin Park.''

If you believe your ballot may have been in that box, you can find out how to track your ballot at ABC7.com/vote.

City News Service contributed to this report.

RELATED: California GOP defends illegal ballot boxes, plans to expand program
EMBED More News Videos

After a cease and desist letter was sent to the California Republican Party regarding their illegal ballot drop boxes, the state GOP says they plan to expand the program.

Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.