Over 300 California Recall Election Ballots Found in Passed Out Man's Car

Police in California are investigating why a man found passed out in a vehicle was in possession of more than 300 unopened recall election vote-by-mail ballots.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was discovered by Torrance Police inside a vehicle at a 7-Eleven parking lot on August 16.

As well as the ballots, officers also found Xanax pills on the suspect, a loaded firearm, thousands of other pieces of mail, a scale, and multiple California driver's licenses and credit cards in other people's names.

The suspect was arrested on several weapons, narcotics and forgery charges.

Giving an update on the investigation, Torrance Police confirmed that there were hundreds of ballots for the September 14 gubernatorial recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom among the thousands of pieces of stolen mail found in the car.

Officers are now trying to determine how and why the suspect was in possession of the ballots, but confirmed the incident is not tied to any additional thefts of election ballots.

"Investigators are trying to figure out how the election ballots ended up in the suspect's vehicle and what their intent was in having them," Torrance Police said in a statement. "In the meantime, those who were identified through this investigation will be receiving a new election ballot."

Speaking to KABC, Sgt. Mark Ponegalek, with the Torrance Police Department, said some of the ballots were in a box, but were also "kind of strewn across the backseat" of the vehicle.

"The election ballots, they were un-tampered with, unopened, a little over 300 of them found, primarily from addresses in Lawndale," Ponegalek said. "There were some from Compton.

"We're still trying to figure out where all these belonged to at this time so we're working with the Los Angeles [county] election office as well as the U.S. Postal Inspector."

The Los Angeles County Registrar's confirmed that the recall election ballots had been sent out but not returned by voters. Officials said there is no indication the ballots were taken in an attempt to influence the result of the upcoming recall vote.

"There's nothing to indicate this was focused on the election," a spokesperson for the county registrar's office told KABC.

The man who was taken into custody has since been released on his own recognizance.

This case is being investigated by the Torrance Police's Special Investigations Division in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service and the LA County District Attorney Public Integrity Unit.

Police said that people can report any suspicious activity surrounding any elections at 310-328-3456.

Torrance Police have been contacted for further comment.

gavin newsom recall
The recall election ballots were among thousands of mail which were found in the suspect's vehicle in California. Torrance Police