California police find hundreds of recall ballots, guns and drugs inside sleeping mans car

Authorities are investigating 300 unopened mail-in-ballots for the upcoming recall election found inside a parked car at a convenience store in Torrance, California.

“Inside the vehicle, the officers found a loaded handgun, some narcotics, and then they found a bunch of mail and what turned out to be over 300 election ballots in the backseat of the vehicle,” Sgt. Mark Ponegalek with the Torrance Police Department told local media.

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Police were called on August 16 about a man sleeping in his car around 10:45 p.m. at a 7-Eleven convenience store.

“They appeared to be in a box, but they were also kind of strewn across the backseat of the vehicle, and so there was just a large portion of mail in that backseat,” Ponegalek said.

Authorities took the man into custody, and he was released on his own recognizance. Police do not know how he obtained the ballots or what his intent was.

“The election ballots, they were un-tampered with, unopened, a little over 300 of them found, primarily from addresses in Lawndale,” Ponegalek added. “There were some from Compton. We’re still trying to figure out where all these belonged to at this time, so we’re working with the Los Angeles election office as well as the U.S. Postal Inspector.”

The Los Angeles County Registrar’s office told local news that the ballots found were for the upcoming recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom on Sept. 14. The ballots were accounted for as being sent out to voters but not yet returned.

“There’s nothing to indicate this was focused on the election,” the county registrar’s office said. Officials said they intend to resend out the 300 ballots again.

The discovery of the ballots comes as the latest polls show Newsom may be at risk of losing the recall election.

RELATED: Newsom ‘in jeopardy’ among likely recall election voters: poll

A CBS News/You Gov poll found that enthusiasm for the upcoming election is higher among Republican voters than Democrats. The poll found that 78% of GOP voters said they “definitely will vote” in the recall, while 73% of Democrats said the same. And while 54% of all registered voters supported Newsom, that edge narrowed to 52% when looking at people likely actually to vote by Sept. 14.