California GOP Refuses To Remove Illegal Ballot Drop Boxes
The California Republican Party said in a Wednesday letter to the California Secretary of State that it will not comply with a cease-and-desist order requiring the removal of its unofficial ballot drop boxes, after the state determined the boxes were illegal.
- California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas told CNN in a statement, "Ballot harvesting program will continue.”
- In the letter to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, attorneys for the state GOP said all of the party’s drop boxes are indoors, staffed by volunteers or party officials, secure, and not labeled “official,” the news outlet reported.
- After photos surfaced of boxes labeled as “official,” the California GOP said it did not authorize use of the term and ordered it removed.
Casting the unofficial boxes as "wrong no matter who is doing it," Padilla had explained to CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Prime Time" Monday evening that the operation doesn't have a "chain of custody, and we don't have the requirements or regulations for these fake drop boxes as you do for the official drop boxes."
"We have a ton of requirements on official drop boxes," he continued. "That's where we should be driving voters to."
- Meanwhile, Barajas said Wednesday that the state GOP might expand the program because “it’s going well.”
- Barajas added: "We're going to continue this program. If you want to take us to court, then we'll see you in court."
The Los Angeles Times noted that Republicans for years " have decried the use of so-called 'ballot harvesting,' arguing that laws that allow a third party to collect voters’ completed ballots serve as a breeding ground for election fraud. "
The Times also noted that Padilla and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra "have demanded that GOP officials provide by Thursday a list of all voters whose ballots have been collected using the boxes, to ensure that the documents were collected with permission."
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who wrote the law and its amendment in 2018, said that the intent of the two bills was to open up access for voters to participate in elections.
The wording in the amendments doesn’t give the state GOP the legal standing to use unofficial boxes, said Gonzalez, a Democrat whose district encompasses southern San Diego County.
“The mental hoops you need to jump through to assume that a person opening the box is the designated person is beyond me,” Gonzalez said. “It is clear that you can designate a person, but not a lock box.”