City of Boston investigating incident at Copley Square ballot dropbox
Update: A suspect has been charged with the willful and malicious burning of the ballot dropbox near 700 Boylston Street in the Back Bay. Visit the Boston Police website for more details.
The Boston Election Department is working with the proper authorities to conduct a thorough inventory of the ballots collected through the Copley Square ballot dropbox yesterday afternoon through early morning today. That investigation remains ongoing. The Secretary of State’s Office has also referred this matter to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling and asked that the FBI investigate. More about the incident can be read on the Boston Police website.
“What happened in the early hours of this morning to the ballot dropbox in Copley Square is a disgrace to democracy, a disrespect to the voters fulfilling their civic duty, and a crime," Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Secretary of the State William Galvin said about the incident. "Our first and foremost priority is maintaining the integrity of our elections process and ensuring transparency and trust with our voters, and any effort to undermine or tamper with that process must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We ask voters not to be intimidated by this bad act, and remain committed to making their voices heard in this and every election.”
While this remains an active investigation, an immediate review of the contents of the Copley Square ballot dropbox held about 122 ballots, and 87 of them were legible and able to be processed. Before the incident, which occurred around 4 a.m., City officials had last collected the ballots at this dropbox at 2:29 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
The City will mail a new ballot to all those voters whose ballots were identified in the Copley Square dropbox at that time. If those voters do not recast ballots, the City will hand count the ballots recovered from the box. Voters should also keep in mind that they can still vote early through October 30, or vote on Election Day (November 3). Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Any Boston voter who deposited their ballot at the Copley Square dropbox between 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, and about 4 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, should check the status of their ballot by contacting the Boston Election Department at 617-635-2211.
The ballot dropbox at Copley Square did not suffer physical outer damage and continues to be available for voters to deposit their completed ballots. Please note: All ballot dropboxes are under 24-hour surveillance and emptied on a daily basis. Ballots collected are brought to our Election Department to be counted on election night with each voter’s precincts.