Authorities in Georgia have revealed that a mail truck, which was suspected to be carrying absentee ballots for the midterm elections, has been destroyed in a fire, along with all of its contents.
The Baker County Sheriff’s Office shared photographs on Facebook of the destroyed vehicle, which burst into flames on the 1000 block of Pretoria/Tarva Rd.
The sheriff’s office wrote that the fire “claimed the jeep and a lot of U.S. Mail.”
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) often uses Jeeps as postal delivery vehicles in rural areas.
“The mail delivery driver was unharmed,” the sheriff’s office said.
The local post office has a manifest of the mail lost to the fire if local residents needed to inquire about a delivery, the post notes.
During a press conference, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office issued a statement warning that ballots may have been destroyed in the blaze.
“There are 43 outstanding ballots in the county,” Interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling told media.
“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,” Sterling said.
In the 2022 midterms, Georgia is electing a governor, several U.S. representatives, a U.S. senator, and multiple other statewide and local offices.
An inordinately high amount of Georgia residents have cast ballots during the state’s early voting phase of the 2022 midterm elections.
“Early voting centers opened across Georgia last week, and the vast majority of voters cast their ballots in person,” the Washington Post reports.
“While every demographic and region of the state has seen elevated turnout relative to 2018, there has been a surge of participation from women, black voters, and voters over age 50.”
Approximately 100,000 absentee ballots were received on Tuesday while 124,000 Georgia residents voted in person during the early voting period, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
As of Tuesday evening, over a million votes had been cast, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement.
“We’ve reached 1 MILLION cast votes,” Raffensperger announced on Twitter.
“Election officials deserve our thanks for rising to the challenge & working hard to serve our communities.”
Congratulations, Georgia voters! We've reached 1 MILLION cast votes. Election officials deserve our thanks for rising to the challenge & working hard to serve our communities. Early Voting will continue through Nov. 4th. The deadline to request a mail ballot is Friday! pic.twitter.com/eOKiuoMZP9
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) October 25, 2022