A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier from Hudson County, New Jersey, was arrested for discarding mail, including 99 general election ballots sent from the County Board of Elections that were intended to be delivered to West Orange residents, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, is charged by complaint with one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail.
The delay of mail charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The obstruction of mail charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Attorney information for the accused was not immediately known.
Beauchene is scheduled to appear Wednesday afternoon in Newark federal court.
According to court documents, roughly 1,875 pieces of mail – including 627 pieces of first class, 873 pieces of standard class, two pieces of certified mail, 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange, and 276 campaign flyers from local candidates for West Orange Town Council and Board of Education – were recovered from dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5.
The intended destination for the ballots and campaign flyers are heavily Democratic areas.
The mail had been scheduled to be delivered on Sept. 28, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2 to addresses on certain postal routes in Orange and West Orange. On the delivery dates for which mail was recovered, Beauchene was the only mail carrier assigned to deliver mail to the addresses on the recovered mail, according to the court documents.
The recovered mail was placed back into the mail stream for delivery to its intended recipients, according to the prosecutor's office.