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State Republicans Defend Unauthorized Ballot Drop Boxes

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2020 Elections Ballot Box in Boyle Heights Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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The California Republican Party says it won’t comply with an order from state officials to shut down unauthorized ballot drop boxes in Southern California.

Volunteers and operatives for the state GOP installed the boxes at churches, political offices and retail locations in Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno counties.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent cease and desist letters to the party. On Wednesday, attorneys for the California Republican Party responded with a letter saying the operation was legal and they were keeping the boxes in place.

“It’s pretty clear that Democrats only care about ballot harvesting when someone else is doing it,” Party Chair Jessica Patterson said during a conference call with reporters.

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“Ballot harvesting,” or third-party ballot collection, has been legal in California since 2016. But Padilla says voters are supposed to designate an individual to collect their ballot. He says the GOP’s ballot boxes have none of the security measures or accountability of official drop boxes operated by counties.

Padilla’s office said in an email he’s exploring all options, including legal action.

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