Missing San Francisco Ballots Found Floating In Pond

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Approximately 75 voting ballots that disappeared when officials say a San Francisco polling inspector took off with them Tuesday have been found.

John Arntz, San Francisco’s director of elections, said Thursday the ballots were found floating in a pond at the Palace of Fine Arts in the city’s Marina neighborhood.

Arntz described the ballots as “waterlogged.” A memory pack that records information from the ballots, and a voting roster that also disappeared have not been recovered.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Because the chain of custody of the ballots was broken, Arntz said he was seeking advice from the city attorney’s office on how best to proceed with the recovered ballots.

Karl Bradfield Nicholas, the polling inspector accused in the case was due to be arraigned Friday on three felony charges, including alleged violations of the California Elections Code.

Nicholas, 50, was in charge of a polling site in the city’s southernmost district when he inexplicably left the site Tuesday afternoon with the ballots, according to Arntz and prosecutors.

“Every indication we had in our interactions with him was that he was a good candidate to be an inspector at that polling place,” Arntz said after Nicholas was arrested Wednesday.

Nicholas had gone through a vetting process that included an assessment test and training class, Arntz said. Inspectors receive a $200 stipend for their work.

Authorities have not determined a motive for the alleged theft. It’s not known if Nicholas had retained an attorney.

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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