Poll Worker Who Allegedly Stole Ballots in Custody

Stop, ballot thief!
Police told SF Weekly that a poll worker accused of running off with election materials yesterday is in custody. The items he is accused of stealing may not have been returned, however.

In a bizarre instance city election director John Arntz told media he believes has never before occurred in San Francisco, a poll inspector yesterday was reported by peers as breaking into the ballot-counting machine and making off with up to 75 ballots, a voting roster, and other election materials. That man has now been detained, police spokeswoman Lieutenant Lyn Tomioka said. She is unsure, however, if he has yet been arrested -- and also unsure whether the items he purportedly stole have been recovered.

The motivation for the theft is hazy at this time -- there isn't exactly a resale market for used ballots. More conventional, however, is the accusation the rogue Excelsior District poll worker purloined a teenage colleague's cell phone.

Finally, one more thing we're unclear about: It is uncertain if the 75-odd ballots the man is accused of yanking had already been electronically recorded.

Update, 10 a.m.: Per the SFPD:

Karl Bradfield Nicholas, 50 year old San Francisco resident has been arrested for the theft of the election ballots and the memory box, reported stolen yesterday at the polling station on the unit block of Knott Court. He is charged with 3 felonies - N/W 18568(e) Elections Code, N/W 18568 (f) EC and N/W 459 PC (burglary). He is being held in the county jail. None of the stolen ballot items have been recovered, but this is an ongoing SFPD investigation. I spoke to Mr. John Arntz who advised me that no more than 75 ballots were stolen, based on the preliminary audit that was conducted. Mr. Nicholas was arrested at 1:12am this morning.

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