Just a day before voters cast their ballots in what has been a tumultuous election season, a routine trip to the post office turned into an election mix-up for a Connecticut man.
Kevin Kimlingen, of Scotland, couldn’t believe his eyes when he went through six weeks of mail he had just picked up from his PO Box on Monday afternoon.
He found four filled out absentee ballots mixed in with his mail.
"It was upsetting because if it happened to me, how many more like that are out there,” Kimlingen said. "I said they put that in the wrong box and then I kept going through and I found another absentee ballot and I was like okay and I kept going through it and found another one and then I found another one."
He said he’s gotten other people’s mail by mistake before, but nothing like this.
"If you got these in the wrong person's hands they could have opened them up which is illegal and see who they are voting for and sway a vote,” Kimlingen said.
In a statement, the U.S. Postal Service said “the postal service recognizes the important role we play in the electoral process and we apologize for this incident. We immediately reached out to retrieve the ballots which we now know were sorted incorrectly through human error. They will be delivered Tuesday."
Kimlingen returned the ballots to the post office on Monday evening, but said he is disappointed that such carelessness nearly stripped four people of their right to have their voices heard.
"What's sad is if I had come here two days later, those votes wouldn't have counted and there's nothing you can do about it at that point,” Kimlingen said.
Absentee ballots must be received by the close of the election or it won't count. That includes ballots that have been postmarked before the day of the election.
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