A United States Postal Service carrier in Baker County, Georgia, avoided serious injury when her Jeep delivery vehicle burst into flames Monday.
Unfortunately, stacks of mail, including packages, letters and, potentially, mail-in absentee ballots, were reportedly burned and destroyed due to the vehicle fire, WAGA-TV reported. The fire occurred on a rural roadway just southwest of Albany.
Post offices in rural areas of the country often depend on carriers using their personal vehicles for delivery, hence why the destroyed mail items, including potentially several dozen absentee ballots, were in the mail carrier’s Jeep.
The Baker County Sheriff’s Office reported that the Newton Post Office had records of the mail that was lost in the fire and encouraged residents to contact the Newton office regarding inquiries of the lost mail items.
While the lost mail and possibly lost ballots are inconvenient developments, multiple commenters on the Baker County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post praised God that the carrier was safe and sound, especially given the severity of the fire, which resulted in the a total loss of the vehicle.
“Thanking God she’s okay and the fire didn’t spread!!!!” one Facebook user wrote.
The story quickly caught the attention of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, given the possibility of mail-in ballots being destroyed in the fire. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office released a statement on their role in how they can help those who might have lost a mail-in ballot to the fire.
“A USPS truck, according to the election’s director down there, burned to a crisp. So, we’ve already had discussions with them,” Interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling said, according to WAGA-TV.
“There are 43 outstanding ballots in the county. We’re working with USPS to see if they have images of what might have been on that truck, to reissue them. Worst comes to worst, we’ll reissue the 43 ballots, or the county will reissue the 43 ballots, and first across the line for those voters will be the ballots that are accepted,” Sterling added.
The incident came in the wake of record early voting happening in Georgia, with Sterling reporting that on Tuesday alone, over 100,000 mail-in ballots were received. Another 124,000 had voted early in person.
Congratulations, Georgia voters! We’ve reached 1 MILLION cast votes. Election officials deserve our thanks for rising to the challenge & working hard to serve our communities. Early Voting will continue through Nov. 4th. The deadline to request a mail ballot is Friday! pic.twitter.com/eOKiuoMZP9
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) October 25, 2022
According to NBC News, early voting across the country is exceeding expectations, and that’s especially true in Georgia. As of Oct. 26, according to Georgia Votes, 1,123,329 Georgia voters have already cast their vote, marking a 51 percent increase from the same time in the lead-up to the 2018 midterms.
Of those votes, 51 percent were registered Democrats, and 41 percent were registered Republicans. Another eight percent were marked “other.”
In good news for Democrats, ￼a record-breaking week of early voting continued in Georgia yesterday — 50% MORE people cast ballots than during the same period in 2018!
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) October 23, 2022
Some of the most watched races in the Peach State include Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker versus Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams challenging Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Warnock holds a three-point lead over Walker. Kemp holds just over a six-point lead on Abrams heading into the final stretch of campaigning before Nov. 8.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.