Boston man arrested for burning of Back Bay ballot drop box

BOSTON (WHDH/AP) — A Boston man has been arrested in connection with the burning of a ballot box in the Back Bay over the weekend, police said.

Worldy Armand, 39, is set to be arraigned Monday in Boston Municipal Court on a charge of willful and malicious burning, according to police.

Armand allegedly set fire to a drop box containing more than 100 ballots outside the Boston Public Library around 4 a.m. Sunday.

Officers called to the scene saw smoke coming out of the box before firefighters managed to extinguish the fire by filling the box with water.

Around 10:50 p.m. Sunday, officers assigned to the Drug Control Unit were patrolling the Copley Square area when they saw Armand, who police say matched the description of the ballot drop box suspect.

They learned that Armand reportedly had an active straight warrant out of Ipswich District Court for receiving stolen property.

He was taken into custody and members of the Fire Investigation Unit identified him as the suspect of the burned ballot drop box incident, police said.

Out of the 122 ballots inside the burned drop box, 87 were still legible and able to be processed, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin’s office said. The box had last been emptied around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Voters can go online to see whether their ballot was processed. Those who used that drop box between Saturday afternoon and 4 a.m. Sunday and can’t confirm the status of their ballot online should contact the Boston Elections Department immediately, officials said.

Voters whose ballots were affected can either vote in person or by a replacement ballot that will be mailed to them, officials said. If those voters don’t submit a new ballot, “their original ballot will be hand-counted to the extent possible,” Galvin’s office said.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh released a statement, saying that police have increased their patrols in the area of drop boxes and that he commended the work of everyone involved to make an arrest in this case.

“I want to thank the Boston Police Department for their swift action, our law enforcement partners and members of the community who all played a role that led to the arrest of the suspect in the Copley Square ballot dropbox incident,” he said. “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. We remain committed to making their voices heard in this and every election, and maintaining transparency and trust with voters.”

Additionally, a mailbox was found at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston streets with charred mail inside. Police have since removed the box and it is not cleat if the two incidents are related.

The investigation into the two incidents remains ongoing.

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