Mail that was stolen, including numerous ballots, were found discarded in multiple bags by roadsides and ditches in Seattle, officials said.
Officials on Oct. 16 sent a warning to Sammamish residents, a city located just east of Seattle, about the mail theft, and are asking people to check and empty mailboxes often to avoid the theft, which is common going into the holiday season.
"Please check and empty your mailboxes often; and please keep them locked," the statement reads. "If you do not have a lock on your mailbox, please consider getting one through the post office."
United States Postal Service (USPS) officials, together with the police department, are currently working to return the stolen mail and ballots to their rightful owners.
Sammamish Police Chief Dan Pingrey told MyNorthWest that mail theft isn't uncommon in the area, but he doesn't believe the crime was politically motivated.
"We do have, throughout the entire Eastside, a lot of mail theft, because people take advantage of that to do fraud, forgery, identification theft, et cetera," the police chief told the network. "It’s constant. And obviously, when it occurs now, they’re also getting ballots."
The stolen ballots were discovered by Amazon employees who were delivering other packages, officials said.
Democrats have been promoting mail voting as a convenience and safety precaution, while Republicans have cautioned against it, raising concerns of fraud and mismanagement.
While Democrat and Republican groups both have filed lawsuits this year over vote-by-mail rules across the country, most of the more than 100 lawsuits are backed by Democrats.