According to Galvin’s office, the fire at the Copley Square drop box was set at around 4pm. Boston police on Sunday released two images of a man they say they are trying to identify as part of the investigation. In one image, a person appears to be holding something with a bright flame as he approaches the ballot box.
In a joint statement, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Galvin called the fire “an insult to democracy, an insult by voters for carrying out their civic duty and a crime.”
“Our first and foremost priority is to maintain the integrity of our election process and ensure transparency and trust with our voters, and to the fullest extent of the law on any attempt to minimize or tamper with that process,” the statement said Should be prosecuted. ” “We ask voters not to be intimidated by this evil act, and are committed to making their voice heard in this and every election.”
The FBI had launched an investigation, Galvin said in a message with the Globe reporter.
The Brighton Democrat said, “It was a deliberate arson attack on a ballot in a federal election.” “Obviously it was a violent action.”
There were 122 ballots inside the box, when officials emptied it on Sunday morning, 87 of which were legible and capable of being processed. The box was last emptied by the Boston Election Department before 2:30 Saturday afternoon.
Officials are urging voters to use the box late Saturday or Sunday to either track their ballot online or contact the Boston Election Department.
Any affected voters will have a replacement ballot sent to them by the City of Boston and will have the option to choose that replacement ballot or vote in person, Galvin’s office said. If an affected voter does not submit a new ballot, their original ballot will be counted to the extent possible.
The drop box outside the Copley Square Library did not suffer “physical external damage”, according to city officials, who say it is still available for voters to submit their completed ballots. Boston police said that when they arrived Sunday morning, smoke was coming out of the ballot box and it appeared to be “on fire”. Firemen eventually filled the ballot box with water and extinguished it, police said.
Walsh’s office said that each of the city’s 17 drop boxes is under 24-hour surveillance and emptied on a daily basis.
A Galvin spokesman said his office has asked local election officials to contact the secretary of state’s election division about the possibility of funding to pay any increased security.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll Wrote on twitter on sunday Officials in that city were using chemical fire extinguishers in their ballots “to ensure that the ballots do not go into flames.” He said it was “outrageous that Vandals would set the Boston ballot in the fire.”
“[It’s] It is sad that we have to take these measures, ”Driscoll wrote.
Lelling’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday afternoon.
Galvin’s office said it was a report of apparently intentional damage to a drop box in Massachusetts. California officials said that this week they were investigating a fire in a ballot outside a public library in Baldwin Park, California, where someone dropped a piece of newspaper on Sunday night.
Andrea Estes of the Globe staff contributed to this report.