Authorities charged a suspect for lighting a Boston-area ballot box on fire over the weekend. Drug control unit officers apprehended Worldy Armand, a 39-year-old Boston resident, after he matched the description of the suspect who lit the fire, which broke out around 4am on Sunday at a downtown ballot box outside of the Boston Public Library.
Mr Armand also had an active warrant for receiving stolen property, according to authorities, and faces charges of willful and malicious burning.
The FBI is investigating the incident, which Massachusetts election officials called a “deliberate attack” on voting infrastructure.
In a joint statement, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said the fire was “a disgrace to democracy, a disrespect to the voters fulfilling their civic duty, and a crime.”
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) October 25, 2020
The ballot box was holding over 120 ballots, and at least 35 were damaged before the fire was put out. Affected voters will be sent new ballots, and can vote in-person or by mail.
“It is a top priority of our offices to help maintain the integrity of the election process in Massachusetts by aggressively enforcing federal election laws,” the FBI said in a statement.
Early voting in Massachusetts began on 17 October, and more than 2 million people have participated so far.
The incident in Boston is the latest attack on voting infrastructure this month. Last week, someone dropped a flaming piece of newspaper in a ballot box in the Los Angeles area, affecting around 100 ballots. Earlier in October, California election officials sent a cease and desist letter to the state GOP for using unofficial ballot boxes.
Not since 2000, when the Supreme Court decided a contested presidential election, has there been so much controversy around the legitimacy of the vote in America, and President Trump has repeatedly attempted to undermine faith in the process.