Tag: Drop

Fake “official” drop boxes set up by California GOP may be in “violation of state law”: official

Ballot Box
Ballot Box

A woman places her ballot paper in the box during early voting Getty Images/Mark Ralston

The California Republican Party is operating unofficial ballot drop boxes that Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Sunday were in “violation of state law.”

Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party, promoted an “official ballot drop off box” on Twitter and urged followers to message him for “convenient locations” to drop their ballots last week, The Orange County Register first reported. One voter reported an “Official Ballot Drop Box” that was “approved and bought by the GOP” outside of a Los Angeles area church before it was removed after county officials warned on social media that it was “not an official vote by mail drop box and does not comply with [state] regulations for drop boxes,” according to KCAL.

The boxes were set up across Southern California in front of churches, gyms, and gun stores by the California GOP, according to The Washington Post. One chapter of the state Republican Party in California rolled out its own drop-off sites while echoing President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations over the “security” of mail voting even though it has been repeatedly shown to be safe and secure.

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“CONSERVATIVE VOTER ALERT!,” the Fresno GOP said while announcing a list of unofficial locations to drop off ballots. “President Trump is very concerned about the lack of security with mail in ballots. Don’t take a chance that your vote will not be counted. Once your ballot arrives in the mail, mark your ballot completely and then walk it in, as soon as possible, to one of the secure locations listed below. Make sure your vote counts!”

Padilla, a Democrat, said on Sunday that it was illegal to operate unofficial ballot drop boxes.

“Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes — especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes — is not just misleading to voters, it’s a violation of state law,” he told the Post. “My office is coordinating with local officials to address the multiple reports of unauthorized ballot drop boxes. Californians should only use official ballot drop boxes that have been deployed and secured by their county elections office.”

The OC Register reported that those operating the unofficial drop boxes could face felony charges that carry up to two to four years in prison.

Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley told the the outlet that he had received hundreds of complaints about the drop boxes.

“What we did was started to look into it, notified the state, and the Secretary of State issued guidance this afternoon that it is illegal and you can’t do that,” he said. “It would be like me installing a mailbox out on the

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CA GOP’s Unsanctioned Ballot Drop Boxes May Violate Law, Secretary Of State Says

The California Republican Party has advertised unsanctioned ballot drop boxes, prompting a warning from the state’s top election official that such boxes violate the law. 

The drop boxes, some of which claim to be “official,” weren’t actually installed by the state.

Rather, they’re the product of the state’s Republican Party, according to several reports. In a since-removed list of “Ballot Collection Box Locations” on its website, the Fresno County Republican Party listed the location of several such unsanctioned drop boxes, including several gun shops, a gas station and the county party’s headquarters. 

It’s perhaps a bit ironic that the GOP, currently trying to restrict drop box use in multiple states, has created its own boxes in California.

The state party has defended the installations, comparing them to volunteers that collect ballots face-to-face to be submitted later — a practice sometimes disparagingly called “ballot harvesting.” 

But the use of unsanctioned drop boxes doesn’t actually involve voters handing their ballots over to another person for them to submit to elections officials, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) pointed out in a memo dated Sunday

“[T]he use of unauthorized, non-official vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes does not comply with state law governing ballot collection activities,” he wrote, noting that official drop boxes are required to meet a number of security requirements and are listed on state websites. 

“The use of non-official vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes would be misleading to the public and could result in confusion and a perceived lack of transparency on behalf of county elections officials,” Padilla added.

The Washington Post reported on the drop boxes Monday morning, and the Orange County Register and KCAL reported on them prior to the Post.

“Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes — especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes — is not just misleading to voters, it’s a violation of state law,” Padilla said in a statement to the Post. “My office is coordinating with local officials to address the multiple reports of unauthorized ballot drop boxes. Californians should only use official ballot drop boxes that have been deployed and secured by their county elections office.”

“It would be like me installing a mailbox out on the corner – the post office is the one that installs mailboxes,” Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley told the Register of the drop boxes. 

Padilla’s memo also noted possible criminal penalties for setting up unofficial drop boxes. 

In his memo, he cited a section in the state’s election code, 18575, that sets out potential felony charges for anyone who, “Not being an election officer, performs or discharges any of the duties of an election officer in regard to the handling, counting, or

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