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.
"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.
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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.
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