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Morning Briefing: The California GOP’s Unauthorized Ballot Boxes

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Twitter user Rebecca Albarran posted this photo on Monday of an unofficial ballot drop box outside St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Simi Valley. (Screengrab from Twitter)
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Good morning, L.A.

There’s disturbing news aplenty in this election cycle, but now there’s a local spin: The California Republican Party has admitted to setting up unauthorized, unofficial and seemingly fake ballot boxes throughout Southern California.

My colleague Libby Denkmann reports that the boxes have been placed in front of churches, political party offices and retail locations. But Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced in no uncertain terms that the collection boxes are illegal: "In short, providing unauthorized, non-official vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes is prohibited by state law," he said in a memo earlier this week.

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Along with Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Padilla sent a cease-and-desist letter to the California GOP and its L.A., O.C. and Fresno chapters.

That move came after the state GOP openly copped to setting up the boxes, and state GOP spokesman Hector Barajas accused Democrats of trying to “suppress the vote.”

Tuesday afternoon on NPR’s All Things Considered, Barajas said the state GOP “may actually be expanding the program … We are ready to go to court over this because we're going to make sure that we protect the options for individuals to be able to turn in their ballots.”

We’ll keep following this story as it progresses. Meanwhile, keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

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Coming Up Today, October 14

We'll stream day three of Amy Coney Barrett’s U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings live.

The census bureau is listing a 99.9% completion rate, including in its L.A. County Area Census Offices (which don't break it down by tract, which would show a different picture). But that's heavily obscuring the way those cases are closed, reports Caroline Champlin. There are lots of shortcuts taken, and the federal announcement smacks heavily of spin.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors collectively oversees a $30 billion annual budget that pays for everything from mental health treatment to homeless services, public health to the Sheriff’s Department. The 2nd District covers most of South L.A., from Inglewood to Carson to Culver City, home to about two million people. Libby Denkmann will moderate a debate tonight between former L.A. City Council president Herb Wesson and State Senator Holly Mitchell, the candidates vying for the job.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Opening And Closing: We tagged along as three-year-old Francis Dacono and his family returned to the playground for the first time in more than six months. L.A. Comic Con will push its event to September 2021. Get a preview — and a history lesson — at the virtual groundbreaking of a new park in Westminster that will commemorate a major moment in civil rights.

L.A. Fire Updates: After a close call with the Bobcat Fire, Mt. Wilson Observatory is raising money for ongoing fire security needs, refurbishing of the Monastery, and more. The newest L.A. Fire Department rookie is a firefighting robot that saw some action on a major downtown fire even before being introduced to the public.

More Money, More Beds: Prop. 15 aims to raise $11.5 billion for schools and local governments by raising taxes on long-held commercial properties — including businesses such as South Coast Plaza. L.A. officials must create 5,300 new beds for people experiencing homelessness and living near freeways.

On The National Stage: Here’s what happened on the second day of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing. The Trump administration can end counting for the 2020 census, per the U.S. Supreme Court, though the legal battle may not be over.

LAUSD Board: We continue our interviews with LAUSD Board candidates. Today’s are with Tanya Ortiz Franklin and Patricia Castellanos.

Coronavirus Updates: Another L.A. County child was diagnosed with a rare, potentially deadly syndrome believed to be related to the coronavirus, bringing the total number of children diagnosed locally to 41. Strict coronavirus protocols at factories and shops where some of the worst outbreaks have occurred has reduced the racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 deaths and illness, and public health officials want to expand the effort by creating workplace safety councils.

L.A.’s Best Breakfast Burritos: They’re pure comfort and deliciousness, and here’s where to get the best of the best in L.A.


Photo Of The Day

Francis Dacono, who's very much into being a dinosaur right now, explores the playground at El Cariso Park in Sylmar for the first time in more than six months.

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(Mariana Dale/LAist)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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