On Sunday night, police in Boston, Massachusetts arrested a man after he allegedly set a ballot drop box on fire.
The suspect has been identified as 39 year-old Worldy Armand, who was arraigned in Municipal court on Monday, according to CBS Local. Police said that he was taken into custody after lighting a fire inside the drop box that is located outside of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square at around 4 a.m. Sunday.
Police immediately launched an investigation, releasing two photos of the suspect they were looking for in connection to this case.
— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) October 25, 2020
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Officers patrolling Copley spotted Armand at around 11 pm, and after recognizing him from the photos, they proceeded to arrest him. Cops noticed that he seemed to have burn injuries on his fingers, and that he had a cigarette lighter in his possession at the time of his arrest. Armand has since been charged with willful and malicious burning.
Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin spoke out to address this incident, calling it a “deliberate arson attack.” He added that though the majority of the 122 ballots in the box were not damaged badly, between five and ten of them were destroyed completely.
“I’m very angry,” Galvin said. “It is our intention to make sure that the individuals who did this are apprehended and prosecuted. We want to make sure of the integrity of the electoral process.”
All ballots whose votes were placed in the box at the time of this incident will have new ones mailed to them. If the voters don’t recast their ballots, city officials will count the ballots recovered from the box.
The box itself was not damaged and remains outside the library for voters to use. Police have responded to this incident by increasing patrols in areas that have drop boxes.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh released a statement praising police for the swift apprehension and arrest of this suspect.
“From our election workers who are working hard to trace every legible ballot in that dropbox, to our firefighters who quickly responded to the fire, and our police officers who launched an immediate investigation, voters can be assured that our first and foremost priority is maintaining the integrity of our elections process,” the mayor said.
“We remain committed to making their voices heard in this and every election, and maintaining transparency and trust with voters,” he added.