Unofficial ballot drop boxes popping up throughout the state worry elections officials

Unofficial ballot drop boxes popping up throughout the state worry elections officials

Promoting such boxes — which have been found in Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno counties — could be a felony.

In a photo posted to social media last week, a young man wearing a mask with Orange County congressional candidate Michelle Steel’s name on it is holding a mail ballot and giving a thumbs up next to a box about the size of a file cabinet labeled “Official ballot drop off box.”

The post, from Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party, encouraged people to message him for “convenient locations” to drop their own ballots.

The problem is the drop box in the photo is not official – and it could be against the law.

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.

Only county elections officials can oversee ballot drop boxes, choosing the number, location, hours of operation and other details. County registrars are charged with making sure every box follows strict state guidelines for security, including making sure they can’t be tampered with and tracing the chain of custody of all ballots.

“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, with a felony conviction carrying a prison sentence of two to four years.

Reports came out Saturday night about a metal box in front of Freedom’s Way Baptist Church in Castaic that had a sign matching the one on the Orange County box. The church posted on social media that the box was “approved and brought by the GOP.” The post said church officials don’t have a key to the box and that GOP officials picks up the ballots. A pastor for the church didn’t respond to a request for comment.

On its website, the Fresno County Republican Party also shared a list of “secure” ballot collection locations. None are official county drop box sites, with the local GOP instead listing its own headquarters, multiple gun shops and other local businesses.

The state is still looking into the source or sources of the boxes, Mahood said.

The California Republican Party did not respond to requests for comment about the boxes by deadline. But they’ve been defending the practice in replies on Twitter, alleging the process was made legal under a 2016 law that allows California voters to designate a person to return their ballot for them. The GOP calls the practice “ballot harvesting” and blames it for losses to the Democrats in OC and other places in 2018.

But state officials clarified that using an unauthorized vote-by-mail drop box would not meet the requirements of the 2016 law. No designated “person” would be signing for the ballots as required by state law.

Tygh, who tweeted the Orange County drop box photo on Thursday, didn’t respond to requests for comment. He is listed on Steel’s campaign website as part of “Veterans for Michelle Steel,” a group supporting her election bid. Steel, a Republican supervisor in Orange County, is challenging Rep. Harley Rouda, a Democrat, for the 48th District Congressional seat.

A Democratic party operative retweeted Tygh’s photo on Sunday, alleging the unofficial drop box was at Steel’s campaign headquarters. Reached Sunday evening, Steel said she was out campaigning and was unaware of whether there were drop boxes at her campaign office. She said she’d check into it and call back, but could not be reached later Sunday night.

Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said Sunday that hundreds of people alerted him to the possible rogue drop box. Some had also sent the same message to the state Attorney General and FBI.

“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,” Kelley said.

“It would be like me installing a mailbox out on the corner – the post office is the one that installs mailboxes.”

Kelley said he doesn’t have many details, such as where the box in the photo was located or who was responsible for it. He passed the information on to Padilla’s office and to Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

District Attorney’s spokeswoman Kimberly Edds said Spitzer’s office is investigating, but she declined to say where or how many there were or who had placed them.

To find official drop box locations near you, use tools on the Secretary of State or your local registrar’s websites. Orange County official drop box sites are at ocvote.com.

Yes there is cheating and fraud concerning mail in ballots this year.    It is being done by Republican cult of tRump supporters.   tRump and his supporters are all about projection, everything they accuse others of they are doing.  It really is sad.  The claim to be trying to save democracy by destroying it.  They claim to be the party of patriots, but they don’t even understand the word as they work to destroy the very fabric of our constitution.   These people now view lawlessness as a virtue in the quest to win at any cost, while their Dear leader shouts law and order at his rallies.   How sickening to see the US become Germany of the late 1930’s.    Hugs

13 thoughts on “Unofficial ballot drop boxes popping up throughout the state worry elections officials

    • Scottie October 13, 2020 / 10:21

      Hello Nan. The GOP has admitted they have put 50 of them out there. The state says it is clearly illegal, and the GOP is whining but says they will remove some of them. Not sure what will happen now. I think they were planning to hold the ballots and then claim they found them during the count or after so they would have an excuse to claim fraud. Anything to get the election / ballots to the courts, it is the last gasp they have now it seems. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

  1. shelldigger October 12, 2020 / 19:23

    All I know is, if I pulled a stunt like this, there would be 50 cop cars in the driveway along with the SWAT team from three counties, and military choppers looking at my house with bad intent.

    They would have no mercy on my poor assed white boy backside. How is it other people get away with this sort of shit?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Scottie October 13, 2020 / 12:47

      Hello ShellDigger. I loved your description. It turns out it was a coordinated effort by the local GOP leaders. So the state sent them a cease and desist order reminding them that this is a felony, and the GOP is removing them, at least most of them from the press release. It seems they wanted to use them to claim some kind of voter fraud. The Republicans are desperate to manufacture the fraud tRump has been preaching so they have a reason to force the election results in to the courts which tRump has stacked with his ideologs. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

  2. shelldigger October 13, 2020 / 16:50

    Oh, a gentle reminder they were committing a FELONY!

    Like I said, cops, SWAT, and choppers at my house. But the GOP get a fucking cease and desist order?

    This is pretty good evidence our country has become a shithole IMO. The line between normal common folk and the 1% has never been so well defined and a mile and half across. How are you liking your cake Scotty?

    (let them eat cake)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Scottie October 15, 2020 / 07:41

      Hello ShellDigger. You are correct, and it gets worse. The GOP is refusing to remove the boxes and telling the state to take them to court. The same courts McConnell has been filling with Republican operatives. Hugs

      Like

      • shelldigger October 15, 2020 / 12:46

        Good! Charge them all with a felony and haul their asses to jail. Even a right wing judge cannot just overlook a felony charge. (in a sane sociey, which we seem to have deviated from)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nan October 15, 2020 / 13:46

          In the meantime … what’s happening to the ballots that people are dropping into these fake boxes?

          Liked by 1 person

          • shelldigger October 16, 2020 / 07:34

            We can only hope it’s the R’s using the fake drops I guess…

            I’d hope by now the word is out enough that people will know better. But that probably is putting too much trust in people. People are morons…

            Liked by 2 people

          • Scottie October 16, 2020 / 13:21

            Hello Nan. Great question. That is the reason they are illegal, they lack the security measures the state requires for collecting ballots. Hugs

            Like

        • Scottie October 16, 2020 / 13:17

          Hello ShellDigger. I am not sure, the stacked courts seem to give tRump and far right a pass for everything. Hugs

          Like

          • shelldigger October 17, 2020 / 07:13

            Thanks Scottie, now I’m pissed off first thing in the morning 😉

            I really didn’t think it would go anywhere, but as I’ve said all along, if it were me, cops/SWAT, and fucking helicopters.

            GOP gets a stay out of trouble card. people like us get get a hard way to go.

            Liked by 1 person

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