SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – On Oct. 13, Sarasota County resident Dave Nisley said he didn’t receive any of his mail.
He later found out about 65 other families in the area were in the same boat. His mail carrier’s truck caught fire mid-route destroying everything inside.
Nisley said a wedding invitation, a few checks and a sample ballot were among the mail lost in the fire. He went to the USPS office on Beneva Road to verify if his mail had, in fact, been destroyed.
“I asked to speak to the supervisor, he came right out and spoke with me,” said Nisley. “We talked about the truck burning and he said it was under investigation and once the investigation was complete, they would issue a letter. That has been a couple of weeks ago, still haven’t heard anything.”
Nisley said he was told he was one of around 65 people who didn’t get their mail that day. The driver’s truck caught fire mid-route.
Nisley told 8 On Your Side he couldn’t help but wonder what else was destroyed on the mail truck.
His mind went straight to the election.
Vote-by-mail turnout has been soaring this election cycle due to the coronavirus pandemic. Three weeks before the truck went up in flames, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office sent out more than 130,000 vote-by-mail ballots.
“The other day when I did my early voting at the elections office, I asked them if they were aware that we hadn’t received our sample ballots. They were not aware that there had been a mail truck that had burnt,” said Nisley.
“For the people that had sent their ballots in by mail, you might want to check with the elections office to make sure that your ballot has arrived.”
8 On Your Side contacted officials with the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office Monday. We asked if USPS alerted their office of the destroyed mail truck if there is any concern that vote-by-mail ballots could have been impacted in the fire.
“Voters can go on our website to confirm that their vote-by-mail ballots have been received and tabulated. Any voter who has a question can call our office at 941-861-8618,” said communications manager Rachel Denton.
8 On Your Side also contacted officials with USPS for comment Monday. They sent us this statement Monday night:
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, a letter carrier’s vehicle caught fire on Jewel Drive in Sarasota near the end of his route. There were no injuries. All outgoing mail was recovered and delivered. Unfortunately, mail and packages not yet delivered on that day were destroyed by the fire. The Postal Service has consulted with the Sarasota County Board of Elections to confirm that no ballots were among the mail to be delivered.
Customers who were expecting any letters, bills or packages on October 13th should contact the sender of those items to make them aware of the situation. Impacted customers will soon be receiving a letter from postal officials that provides additional information and guidance. We regret any inconvenience to our customers.
With a record number of people across the country voting by mail, the U.S. Postal Service’s number one priority in the election is the secure, timely delivery of the nation’s Election Mail.