Update: Ballots found, very wet. Memory card still on lam...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2010, 5:46pm PT  

One of the more bizarre incidents we've come across this election...

Via AP:

San Francisco police arrested a polling inspector Wednesday on suspicion of stealing up to 75 ballots, a voting roster and other election material in a bizarre Election Day heist.

Karl Bradfield Nicholas, 50, was taken into custody around 1 a.m., Lt. Lyn Tomioka said. He was not cooperating with authorities, and none of the ballots have been recovered.

Nicholas was in charge of a polling site in the city's southern most district when he inexplicably made off Tuesday afternoon with the ballots, a memory pack that records information from the ballots, the voter roster and another poll worker's cell phone, said John Arntz, San Francisco's director of elections.

Authorities have not determined a motive for the alleged theft.
...
Without the voter roster, Arntz said officials would not be able to determine whose ballots were taken. But he added that so far, it does not appear the missing ballots would have changed the outcome of the election. There was no contest for supervisor in that district, and all the citywide ballot measures appear to have been decided by considerably more than 75 votes.

Nicholas has been booked on three felonies, including burglary. He's being held in the county jail.

UPDATE: In response to the inevitable cries from e-voting apologists citing this report to say "See! Paper ballots can be stolen!" please note that the MEMORY CARD from the op-scan system was also stolen. It's a helluva lot easier to make a quick get away with a single memory card (about the size of a credit card) than it is with tons of paper ballots. Just thought I'd point that out.

UPDATE 11/5/10: Ballots found in a pond at the Palace of Fine Arts. Soggy. Broken chain of custody. Very valuable memory card still on the loose. Details at San Francisco Chronicle...