PORTLAND, OR (KPTV)—As of Thursday night, more than 250 people have commented on a Reddit thread posted Monday that shows a blue USPS mailbox ripped open near Northeast 32nd and Glisan.
It wasn't a sight neighbors liked to see ahead of casting their ballots.
"We were obviously surprised and a little bit distressed," Julia Kukar said. "We've heard about things maybe happening around the country but were surprised to see it so local to us."
Kukar said she passes the mailbox that was damaged frequently on her neighborhood walks.
"It does kind of make me wonder about what kind of confidence I do have in our voting system," another neighbor, Jillian Fitz Hugh, said.
A representative for the United States Postal Service, David Rupert, confirmed that the box at Northeast 32nd and Glisan, along with one other USPS box at Northeast 9th and Davis, were vandalized some time over the weekend before the first batch of Oregon ballots got mailed.
Rupert said USPS replaced the boxes Wednesday and he wasn't aware of any other recent vandalism incidents. He also pointed out that USPS has more than 600 mailboxes in the city of Portland.
Kukar says seeing the damaged box still makes her want to take some extra precautions this election.
"We would normally drop it up at the drop box in Hollywood which is really close, and instead we're going to take them directly to the elections office, just in case," Kukar said.
Marion County clerk, Bill Burgess, said people can still count on the postal service and also track where their ballot is in the process.
"I think there's much more angst about this particular election—not just about the candidates—but about the whole mechanics of the election," Burgess said.
Burgess says he's aware of three counties—Marion, Multnomah and Yamhill—where voters can use BallotTrax to get notifications about their ballot status via text, call or email every step of the way.
"There's an alert when it's been mailed so people know it's in the mail stream, and then there's an alert when it's received, and then when it's been accepted," Burgess said.
Other Oregonians can go to oregonvotes.gov and input voter registration information to check on their ballot status. Informeddelivery.com is another free service people can sign up for to track mail through the USPS.
Burgess explained that even if a ballot is stolen or misplaced and somebody needs to get another one, the county elections office will void the barcode on the first ballot's envelope so that double voting can't happen.
"We scan it, and it says it's an active ballot and [if] the signature is good, that's the only way we would open the ballot to be counted," Burgess said.
FOX 12 received a viewer email Thursday with a photo showing what appears to be four ballot envelopes thrown in some bushes in southeast Portland.
USPS said the envelopes appeared to be properly delivered, then rifled through after delivery. The mail carrier "most likely" redelivered the mail, Rupert said.
In addition to contacting law enforcement, mail theft or tampering should be reported to the Postal Inspectors at uspis.gov or by calling 1-877-876-2455.
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