The California Republican Party is under fire for setting up unofficial ballot drop boxes that state officials warn are in “violation of state law,” The Washington Post reports.
The California GOP has set up the boxes across Southern California in front of churches, gyms, and gun stores that say “Official ballot drop-off box.”
“CONSERVATIVE VOTER ALERT!” the Fresno GOP said while announcing locations where voters could find the boxes. “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!”
“Doing my part and voting early,” Jordan Tygh, a field director for the GOP, wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “DM me for convenient locations to drop your ballot off at!”
Unofficial ballots boxes illegal:
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said the boxes were illegal.
“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 Washington 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."
Those caught operating illegal drop boxes could face up to two to four years behind bars.
The state and national GOP defended the drop boxes, arguing that they were just like “ballot harvesting” measures used by Democrats that were approved under a 2016 law.
Padilla said that the boxes were not legal under the law because it requires voters to designate a specific “person” to submit their mail-in ballot.
“Voters are in control of how to return their ballot, and they have multiple safe and secure options for doing so,” Padilla said. “Ballots can be returned by mail, to any in-person voting location, or to an official secure drop box. Never hand your ballot over to someone you don’t trust.”