California GOP Installed Unofficial, Illegal Drop-Off Boxes to Collect Ballots

More than seven million people in the U.S. already have voted, either by mailing in their ballots or placing them in an early voting ballot drop box. It’s believed that the vast majority of those early voters are Democrats and it’s considered a signal of a massively larger turnout this year than in the 2016 election.

That has Republicans nervous and waging a nationwide legal war to suppress voting. But California Republicans aren’t taking any chances that court might side with them. In recent weeks they placed fake ballot drop-off boxes throughout southern California in what is believed to be an attempt to collect early voters’ ballots and prevent them from being counted. State officials say whoever created and placed the boxes could face felony charges.

Their presence was first reported Sunday evening by The Orange Count Register, which wrote: “The California Secretary of State has received reports in recent days about possible unauthorized ballot drop boxes in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties, agency spokesman Sam Mahood said Sunday evening. Reports place such boxes at local political party offices, candidate headquarters and churches.”

The Register’s report includes a photo posted to Twitter by Republican regional field director that shows him holding a ballot in front of one of the boxes. The tweet was removed by Twitter late Sunday night for violating its rules.

In an email to The Washington Post, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla wrote: “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. 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.”

Official drop-off boxes, meanwhile, must satisfy a long list of requirements to secure the boxes and ensure ballots cannot be tampered with. The GOP’s containers do not meet those requirements, Padilla said.

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