California GOP: Unofficial Ballot Boxes Staying Put

Leaders refuse to comply with state order
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 15, 2020 4:12 AM CDT
California GOP Say It Won't Remove Unofficial Ballot Boxes
An official ballot drop box is seen Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Santa Clarita, Calif. W   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

With more than 1.5 million votes already cast in California, state Republican Party leaders on Wednesday said they will not comply with an order from the state's chief elections official to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes from counties with competitive US House races. Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, both Democrats, say these unofficial ballot drop boxes are illegal and have ordered Republicans to remove them by Thursday, the AP reports. They worry voters will confuse these Republican boxes with the official ballot drop boxes put in place and monitored by county election officials.

Party leaders have said they put these boxes in Orange, Fresno and Los Angeles counties. On Wednesday, party leaders would not say where else they have put these boxes or how many ballots they have collected from them. But Tom Hiltachk, the party's general counsel, says these boxes comply with California's “ballot harvesting” law, which lets people collect ballots from voters and return them to county election offices to be counted. Hiltachk says all of the party's drop boxes are indoors either at county party headquarters, churches or retailers that have agreed to participate. He says the boxes are locked and monitored by people. “The fact that it is a box does not make it illegal,” Hiltachk says. “If we have to use a bag, then we'll use a bag.”

(Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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