Ballots cast early in HD 2 race stolen from Supervisor of Elections’ office

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Two safes holding House District 2 special election early voting and absentee ballots were stolen from South Santa Rosa, PNJ.com reports.

Supervisor of Elections Tappie Villane said two absentee ballots and 33 early-voting ballots cast at the U.S. Highway 98 office in Midway from Friday and Saturday are missing from the South Santa Rosa Service Center.

Monday morning, a worker picking up the ballots for early voting discovered safes were missing, Villane told the Pensacola-based news site.

The office door was broken, and items in the office were moved, said Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Deputy Rich Aloy, but there has been no evidence of anything else stolen or damaged.

Elections-office employees were not interviewed as suspects, and there are no arrests so far, Aloy said. Investigators are still working to establish a suspect or suspects. According to investigators, the burglary was not political.

“I don’t think there’s a need for that at this point,” Aloy told reporters. “We don’t think it would be politically motivated. We have no leads to say that at this point.”

Elections office staff are working to contact everyone who cast the stolen ballots. Villane said they reached each voter who dropped off absentee ballots.

“Our goal by the end of the day … is to make contact with all of these people,” Villane said. “We feel confident that we can touch base with all of these folks.”

Officials ask everyone who early voted or dropped off a ballot on Friday or Saturday to call the elections office at 983-1900. Anyone with information on the break-in should call the Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 437-STOP.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.