A U.S. Postal Service vehicle that may have been carrying absentee ballots for midterm elections in Georgia became engulfed in flames and was destroyed on Monday.
According to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, the fire destroyed both the vehicle and “a lot of U.S. Mail.”
“A vehicle fire in the 1000 block of Pretoria/Tarva Rd. claimed the jeep and a lot of U.S. Mail. The mail delivery driver was unharmed. The Newton Post Office has a list of packages and mail on this particular route if you are expecting a delivery,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post along with photos of the blaze.
Interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling addressed the fire and potentially destroyed ballots during a press conference on Tuesday.
“A USPS truck, according to the election’s director down there, burned to a crisp. So, we’ve already had discussions with them,” Sterling said, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. “There are 43 outstanding ballots in the county. We’re working with USPS to see if they have images of what might have been on that truck, to reissue them. Worst comes to worst, we’ll reissue the 43 ballots, or the county will reissue the 43 ballots, and first across the line for those voters will be the ballots that are accepted.”
More than 11 million ballots have already cast in the upcoming midterm elections, according to data from the United States Election Project, run by University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald.
Georgia has been blowing past turnout records, state data shows. More than 1 million ballots have already been cast in the state.
At the end of Monday, almost twice as many ballots had been cast compared to the same point in 2018, according to the Georgia Secretary of State. Turnout has been “within striking distance” of what was seen in the 2020 presidential election, the Secretary of State said.