SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – In Santa Clara County there are some voters who might not have their votes counted. About two dozen ballots were found dumped on the side of the road in San Jose by Highway 17. The registrar’s office says it’s no fault of theirs and that an investigation is being done.
One voter whose ballot was found is obviously concerned about how their ballot ended up in a ravine next to a highway. A ballot that was sent in two days before Election Day is now covered in water and mud.
Watch the video above to see the pile of about two dozen filled-out ballots, signed, but not delivered. They were found next to Highway 17 in San Jose by Julie Nieman Saturday morning on her way to work.
“On the side of the road like trash,” Nieman told KRON4. “I sure wouldn’t want that with my ballot, it’s kind of upsetting.”
At first, she thought maybe the ballots were supposed to get returned to the voters who filled them out. But the letters of mail scattered around the ballots made her think otherwise.
“Somebody actually took scissors and cut the edges off of the envelopes and took out the insides of the mail that was there,” she said.
They took some of the mail but left the ballots. Two ballot signatures belonged to Lou and Janet Witkin.
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Lou and his wife mailed in their ballots the Sunday before Election Day. The couple has voted in every election since they were 18 years old. Now they’re left wondering how this year’s ballots ended up roadside.
“Especially for my wife,” Lou said. “She is sensitive to the fact that there was a time when women did not have the vote.”
The Santa Clara County Registrar’s Office says the ballots went missing while in possession of the United States Postal Service. Michael Borja with the registrar’s office says there are safeguards in place to prevent ballots from being lost in the mail.
“Very rare occurrence that something like this happened, and we’re working with county council to see the election laws and see if these ballots are eligible,” he said.
After Nieman found the ballots, she handed them over to an officer with the Postal Service. Borja says the registrar’s office will take possession of them once the Postal Service is done with its investigation. Because of their condition and the timing, it’s unclear if the ballots will be able to be counted or not.