California’s chief elections official on Monday ordered Republicans to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes from churches, gun shops and other locations and Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned those behind the “vote tampering” could face prosecution.
Republican refused, saying they are taking advantage of California’s liberal ballot collection law that allows anyone to collect ballots from voters and deliver them to county election offices.
“As of right now, we’re going to continue our ballot harvesting program,” California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said.
Due to the coronavirus and concerns about health safety at polling places, California for the first time mailed ballots for the Nov. 3 election to all active registered voters — more than 21 million people. The ballots come with pre-paid envelopes for voters to mail back, free of charge.
State law also allows county election officers to set up drop boxes throughout the county where people can drop off their ballots in person. The secure boxes can sometimes weigh more than 600 pounds and are monitored frequently by local election officials.
Republicans have set up their drop boxes at churches, gas stations and gun shops in at least three California counties. Some are identified as “secure ballot dropoff location,” while others say “approved and bought by the GOP.”
With files from the Associated Press
We invited California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla to join our conversation, but they were not able to accommodate our request. We also invited Orange County Supervisor Michele Steel to join us, as some of the unofficial boxes have shown up in her district, but as of the airing of this segment her office had not responded to our invitation. We will update this if we receive a response from her.
Hector Barajas, spokesperson for the California Republican Party