A former U.S. Postal Service employee is facing a federal charge after mail was found discarded in a dumpster in Louisville, Kentucky, on Oct. 15, officials said. Inspectors later confirmed that the mail had about 100 absentee ballots that were supposed to be delivered.
The employee was fired from the Postal Service the next day, according to officials.
U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman’s office, in a news release on Oct. 26, said DeShawn Bojgere, 30, of Louisville, was charged with the delay or destruction of mail, a federal crime under 18 United States Code 1703. If he is convicted, he faces more than 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“Especially in these times, Americans depend on the reliability and integrity of those that deliver the U.S. Mail,” Coleman said. “Conduct by Postal employees that violates that duty will result in swift federal prosecution.”
Bojgere, according to the prosecutor’s office, discarded a significant quantity of mail in a construction dumpster between Oct. 5 and Oct. 15. The mail was found in a dumpster on Galene Drive in Louisville, which included about 111 ballots from the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office that were being mailed to voters.
“The dumped mail also included approximately 69 mixed class pieces of flat rate mail, 320 second class pieces of mail, and two national election campaign flyers from a political party in Florida. An analysis of the mail revealed it was from a single route for one scheduled delivery day,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Later, Bojgere told inspectors with the U.S. Postal Service that he was responsible for dumping the mail.
“Copies of the mail were made to retain as evidence, while all of the recovered mail was placed back in the mail stream for delivery to its intended recipients,” said the news release.
The U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General is still investigating the incident.
Mail-in voting has become a controversial and hot topic in recent months as numerous Americans will get the opportunity to mail in their ballots.
President Donald Trump and Republicans have said that mail-in voting leads to a number of problems, delays, and could facilitate election rigging. A number of legacy news outlets and Democrats have attempted to push back against Trump’s claims, asserting that he is spreading misinformation.
However, in recent days, there have been more incidents involving mail being dumped.
On Oct. 16, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania said two USPS workers are facing jail time for dumping mail.
Sean Troesch, 48, of Pittsburgh, a mail carrier who worked out of Mount Oliver, admitted that trash bags found in front of his house contained mail he was supposed to deliver, according to court documents. Troesch was charged with delay or destruction of mail by a postal employee, as was James McLenigan, 29, also of Pittsburgh.