Federal investigators arrested an Ohio postal worker Friday and charged her with delaying the mail after police found an undelivered absentee ballot application and other election-related mail in her vehicle.
De’Andrian L. Rice, 27, had been nabbed by police in Bedford, Ohio, on Oct. 19 on drunken driving charges and they found the mail when they searched her car trunk. They reported her to U.S. Postal Service investigators.
They found one absentee ballot application, 15 pieces of voter participation center mail and 14 mailers from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. They also found 32 Dolly Parton book club books and dozens of Cleveland water department mailings.
The absentee ballot had a postal cancelation stamp of Sept. 1, meaning it was supposed to have been delivered on Sept 2.
Federal prosecutors charged Ms. Rice with delay of mail.
“Americans depend upon the reliability and security of the U.S. mail, especially during this election season,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “Actions by mail carriers and postal employees that violate this trust will result in federal prosecution.”
The absentee ballot application was delivered to the customer, and the rest of the mail was put back into the system to be delivered.
The Postal Service has emerged as a potential weak link as voters set records for cast ballots cast by mail this year.
Mail carriers have been charged in New Jersey and Florida, and one was fired in Kentucky after investigators said they found election materials that had been dumped.