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

Pentagon Funneled $1B Meant For COVID Supplies To Defense Contractors, Bought Armor, Dress Uniforms

Pentagon Funneled $1B Meant For COVID Supplies To Defense Contractors, Bought Armor, Dress Uniforms

The Washington Post reports:

A $1 billion fund Congress gave the Pentagon in March to build up the country’s supplies of medical equipment has instead been mostly funneled to defense contractors and used for making things such as jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms.

The change illustrates how one taxpayer-backed effort to battle the novel coronavirus, which has killed roughly 200,000 Americans, was instead diverted toward patching up long-standing perceived gaps in military supplies.

The Cares Act, which Congress passed earlier this year, gave the Pentagon money to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” But a few weeks later, the Defense Department began reshaping how it would award the money in a way that represented a major departure from Congress’s original intent.

Read the full article.

A PA District is Letting Christians Preach to Kids at a Remote Learning Site

Again Christians trying hard to preach their dogma to other peoples kids.   Hugs

A PA District is Letting Christians Preach to Kids at a Remote Learning Site

All of that sounds really great — for families, for students, for the district itself.

But here’s the problem: Camp Susque is a Christian camp with a self-described mission of “Biblical evangelism.” The camp’s website says its goal is “introducing campers of all ages to our God and Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, as proclaimed in His Word, the Bible.”

Why is a public school district partnering with a Christian organization with a goal of evangelizing?!

Maybe, you think, they’ll turn off the “Christian” switch when WASD kids are there. It might look like a problem, but we don’t have to worry because safeguards are in place to make sure WASD students still receive a secular education, right?

Nope.

[Is religious programming part of this at all?]

PETER SWIFT: … definitely. We are concerned not just for the physical and mental needs of all the students, but also their spiritual needs. Our application and registration makes this clear, and it does have an opportunity to opt out of any specifically religious programming….though from my perspective as a Christian, providing the space, love, and attention to the students is “religious” – but that would be the same for me whether I’m working here or elsewhere.

Not to mention, the remote learning time is expected to take up about 2 hours of the day. We are planning up to 6 hours of programming during the day. We’re gonna certainly use our core competencies.

In short, unless parents go out of their way to say “no proselytizing,” kids will be preached at… for several hours a day.

Some kids who aren’t Christian — and whose parents aren’t raising them in Christianity — may be coerced into going along with it because their classmates are doing it too. This is nothing more than target practice for Christian zealots using local schoolchildren. If it took place in the building, it would be an open and shut violation of the Establishment Clause. That doesn’t change just because the learning is happening in a remote location.

There is more at the link above.    Hugs