California GOP Putting Out Bogus Ballot Boxes In At Least Three Counties

California GOP Putting Out Bogus Ballot Boxes In At Least Three Counties”

The Fresno County Republican Party said Monday it is removing unauthorized ballot drop boxes it promotedin violation of state law after the Secretary of State's office cracked down on a GOP vote harvesting effort.

California election officials received reports over the weekend about the boxes in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties.

All California counties have official ballot drop box sites where voters can return their mail-in ballots, if they prefer to not send them back through the mail. Under that law, California Democrats have held "ballot parties" where attendees fill out their mail-in ballots and leave them with volunteers who return the ballots en masse.

"Democrats only seem to object to ballot harvesting when someone else does it", Barajas said. The problem is, these ballot boxes aren't official, and California's secretary of state is now teaming up with local elections authorities to investigate the boxes spotted in Los Angeles, Fresno, and Orange counties.

Officials have demanded that the party remove ballot boxes.

"The Democrats amended the law to remove all of the restrictions on who can harvest ballots and provided no rules about how ballots can be collected except that someone cannot be compensated per-ballot", he said.

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While ballot collecting is permitted in California, Padilla said voters must authorize collectors, and the collectors must sign the envelopes and state their relationship to the voter.

After receiving reports about the drop boxes in three counties, California's secretary of state issued a memo Sunday telling county registrars these boxes were illegal and that ballots must be mailed or brought to official voting locations. He said official county drop boxes are built with specific security protections, and ballots are retrieved only by designated county personnel. On Saturday night, the Register noted, reports emerged of "a metal box in front of Freedom's Way Baptist Church in Castaic that had a sign matching the one on the Orange County box". The locations listed included gun shops, a gas station and the county Republican headquarters.

"California Republicans are allegedly creating fake drop boxes and tricking voters into depositing their ballots in them", wrote Stern. "My office is coordinating with local officials to address the multiple reports of unauthorized ballot drop boxes". But Republicans in the state often decry ballot harvesting and the California GOP sued Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, this year over the practice. Voting security advocates have warned that California's law gives too much leeway for private citizens or party activists to collect and deliver multiple ballots.

As the local Orange County Register reported late Sunday, "In a photo posted to social media last week, a young man wearing a mask with Orange County congressional candidate Michelle Steel's name on it is holding a mail ballot and giving a thumbs up next to a box about the size of a file cabinet labeled 'Official ballot drop off box'". There are safe, secure and convenient ways to cast a ballot without relying on a party activist to turn it in. "Ballots can be returned by mail, to any in-person voting location, or to an official secure drop box".

"While this has impacted a very small number of Los Angeles County voters ... we nevertheless apologise to those affected by the mistake", said Michael Sanchez, a spokesman for the office. A spokesperson told CBS News the boxes appeared in at least two cities within the county and added that "we're looking for outstanding witnesses and potential suspects".

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