N.J. Mail Carrier Arrested For Dumping Mail, Including Ballots

N.J. Mail Carrier Arrested For Dumping Mail, Including Ballots

Topline

A mail carrier in Hudson County, New Jersey, has been arrested and charged with mail obstruction after dumping over 1,000 pieces of mail including ballots in a dumpster, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpentino announced Wednesday, as the handling of election mail by mail carriers has become a source of controversy ahead of the November election.

A man walks past a U.S. Postal Service truck and mailbox outside a post office on August 17, 2020 in … [+] Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

1,875 pieces of mail meant to be delivered to residents in Orange and West Orange, New Jersey, between September 28 and October 2 were recovered from dumpsters in West Orange and North Arlington, New Jersey, on October 2 and October 5.

The discarded mail included 99 general election ballots for West Orange residents, as New Jersey is mailing all registered voters mail-in ballots automatically for the November election.

U.S. Postal Service employee Nicholas Beauchene was charged with one count of mail obstruction and one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail, and will appear in court in Newark, New Jersey, Wednesday afternoon.

The discarded mail is now back in the mail stream and will be delivered to residents, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Delaying mail carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while obstruction of mail could result in up to six months in prison and $5,000 fine.

Key Background

Mail delivery and handling has come increasingly under scrutiny ahead of the November election, as new changes at the USPS under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump ally, have led to mail delays and fueled concerns about how the agency will handle mail-in voting. (DeJoy has said election mail is the agency’s “number one priority” ahead of the election, and the changes are currently being reversed.) A September incident in which bags of mail were dumped in parking lots in California garnered widespread scrutiny amid the Postal Service controversy, though the postal workers union said no USPS employees were involved in the incident. Trump has also invoked mail carriers in his baseless attacks on mail-in voting, speculating in a June speech that ballots could be stolen from mail carriers before claiming at the first presidential debate that mailmen in West Virginia were selling mail ballots and ballots were being “dumped in rivers.” The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office has confirmed that there were no instances of ballots being sold in the state, and while a mailman in the state did plead guilty to changing several absentee ballot requests, their actions did not affect any ballots. Trump’s claim about mail being “dumped in rivers” referenced an incident in which mail was found by the side of a road in Greenville, Wisconsin. Several absentee ballots were reportedly among the discarded mail, the local sheriff’s office confirmed, but the Wisconsin Elections Commission said no Wisconsin ballots were lost. There is no evidence of any widespread or coordinated efforts by mail carriers to tamper with election mail.

Further Reading

Trump Bizarrely Claimed West Virginia Mailmen Are ‘Selling’ Ballots. They’re Not. (Forbes)

Trump claimed ballots were ‘dumped in a river.’ The reality is far from it. (ABC News)

‘Dumped in rivers … creeks … wastepaper baskets’: Trump’s falsehoods on mail-in ballots (NBC News)

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