California GOP Won’t Remove Unofficial Ballot Boxes, Despite State Order

( The Republican Party in California has said it won’t comply with a state order that’s aimed to get them to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes that have been found in at least four counties.

The state sent a cease-and-desist order to the California GOP, which they’ve called illegal, but the GOP said it won’t comply. Hector Barajas, a spokesman for the California GOP, said in a statement:

“Ballot harvesting program will continue.”

In a letter state GOP attorneys sent to the California Secretary of State, the ballot boxes in question haven’t been labeled “official.” They are being displayed indoors, where party officials are volunteers are monitoring them in a secure way.

Some images of these ballot boxes showed the label “official” on them. The state GOP, though, said it didn’t authorize that label and has since removed it. In the letter, the attorneys wrote:

“The California Republican Party did not promote, or authorize the promotion of, the secure boxes as ‘official mail drop boxes.’ When we learned that a sign using the word ‘official’ was used in some locations on Saturday, October 10, 2020, we corrected that error immediately and within hours.”

A spokesman for the Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, said their office “is in the process of reviewing the CA Republican Party’s response letter.”

Padilla, a Democrat, said the unofficial boxes are “wrong no matter who is doing it.” He explained that the operation doesn’t even 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. That’s where we should be driving voters to.”

The California Republican Party has until Thursday night to respond to or comply with the cease-and-desist order.

Still, Barajas told a local CNN affiliate that “a lot” of these ballot boxes have been sent out across the state, and the GOP is thinking about expanding the program because “it’s going well.”

“We’re going to continue this program,” he said. “If you want to take us to court, then we’ll see you in court.”

President Donald Trump entered the fray of the situation Tuesday night, when he tweeted:

“You mean only Democrats are allowed to do this? But haven’t the Dems been doing this for years? See you in court. Fight hard Republicans!”

California state law does allow for any political party to collect voter ballots, as long as it is done so in person. There are rules and regulations for how the ballots must be collected, including how they must be secured.

Apparently, the California Secretary of State and Democrats in the state believe the state GOP is not doing it properly, and some others concur.

As Rick Hasen, an election law analyst, said the drop boxes in question are “not secure.” He added the GOP is “asking for trouble.”

He continued:

“Whether or not it is technically legal, it’s extremely problematic for voters.”