While Trump condemns mail-in ballot, California GOP accused of planting fake ballot boxes at public places
Authorities in the blue state has not only called the move misleading for voters but illegal as well
President Donald Trump and many of his allies have blasted the idea of having mail-in ballot for this year’s presidential election claiming that it would lead to widespread electoral malpractice. The Democrats, on the other hand, have feared that the president might refuse to step down if he loses the mail-in election to Joe Biden citing lack of transparency as the reason.
Recently, Trump claimed that ballots in his name were found ‘discarded’ in Pennsylvania suggesting that a sinister plot was on to see him losing the election. However, a new revelation from the Democratic-dominated state of California would put the GOP members in a spot of bother.
On Monday, October 12, the Washington Post reported that Republicans in California were allegedly trying to make the claim of voter fraud a reality by doing something suspicious. They were allegedly putting up metal containers marked “Official ballot drop-off box” in places like gyms, gun stores and even churches across the Golden State in recent times. It has also been claimed that the Republicans are urging people to drop their ballots inside those boxes that the state officials have called illegal.
Mail-in ballot is being backed for this year’s election because of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected 7.8 million people and killed more than 215,000.
Last Friday, October 9, Jordan Tygh, a GOP regional field director, posted a tweet that showed him posing in front of a ‘ballot drop-off box’ while holding a ballot and saying: “Doing my part and voting early. DM me for convenient locations to drop your ballot off at!” He deleted the tweet later.
'Misleading voters, violating state laws'
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, told the Post over mail: “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.” Those from the GOP who have been actively promoting the controversial boxes could face criminal charges, it was reported.
According to a report in the Orange County Register, only county election officials have the authority to oversee ballot drop boxes and they can decide on details like number, location, hours of operation, etc. County registrars have the duty to ensure every ballot box follows the state guidelines for security which includes -- making them tamper-proof and tracing the chain of the ballots’ custody.
The Register also reported that Tygh’s incident is not an isolated incident. Another box was seen outside Freedom's Way Baptist Church in Castaic in northern LA county and it was promoted on Facebook by Pastor Jerry Cook. Padilla said on Sunday, October 11, that his office has got reports recently about possible unauthorized ballot drop boxes in LA, Orange, and Fresno counties. The same day, Orange County Register of Voters Neil Kelley said several people alerted him about a possible fake drop box. Many also informed the state attorney general and FBI about it.
The California Republican Party did not officially respond to questions asked about the boxes, but it was found defending the boxes on Twitter. On Sunday, it posted a series of tweets to defend the arrangement and blasted the Democrats saying they were upset because it was ruining their plan to tamper with votes.
“In California, where you can have convicted felons and individuals with a criminal history go door to door and collect ballots from voters, Democrats are now upset because organizations, individuals and groups are offering an opportunity for their friends, family, and patrons... pic.twitter.com/Ljx3WOldmd— CAGOP (@CAGOP) October 12, 2020
to drop off their ballot with someone they know and trust. The Democrat anger is overblown when state law allows organizations, volunteers or campaign workers to collect completed ballots and drop them off at polling places or election offices.”— CAGOP (@CAGOP) October 12, 2020
"If Democrats are so concerned with ballot harvesting, they are the ones who wrote the legislation, voted for it, and Governor @JerryBrownGov signed it into law. California Republicans would be happy to do away with ballot harvesting.”— CAGOP (@CAGOP) October 12, 2020
“The @CASOSvote’s actions is just a deflection from the mounting criticism for giving a non-budgeted, $35 million get-out-the-vote contract to a "Team @JoeBiden Biden" PR firm, which is also receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose Republican candidates in targeted...— CAGOP (@CAGOP) October 12, 2020
California districts.” @HectorMBarajas, spokesman for the California Republican Party.— CAGOP (@CAGOP) October 12, 2020
A New York Times report on Monday, however, said that the California GOP admitted the responsibility for placing the deceptive drop boxes for ballots, an action that was called illegal and could lead to voter fraud.