The California Secretary of State and Department of Justice have reportedly sent a cease and desist order to the California Republican Party to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes that have been placed in at least three counties.
Officials announced the order during a news conference on Monday (October 12). "These unauthorized drop boxes are a disservice to state and local election administrators who have spent months working on the placement and deployment of official ballot drop boxes," said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, according to CNN.
Images of the unofficial boxes show that some were labeled “official,” which only confuses voters. Padilla says his office received reports of the boxes being deployed by the state Republican Party in Los Angeles, Fresno and Orange counties.
According to California state law, unauthorized vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes can not be dispersed by any entity other than county election officials. They have the authority to determine that drop boxes are in compliance with the law.
Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General, said on Monday that his office has received multiple reports that some Republican Party officials are not willing to remove the unofficial boxes. In fact GOP state officials are using a state law passed in 2016 that expanded ballot collection saying that ballot boxes run by any party gives voters greater assurance that their votes will be properly counted. California Republican Party regional field director, Jordan Tygh also posted a photo of himself on Twitter (which has since been deleted) in front of an “unofficial” ballot drop-off box. The laminated sign that also includes, “no postage necessary” is affixed to the front.
Padilla told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday that the cease and desist order has nothing to do with partisan politics and that the unofficial box operation is "wrong no matter who is doing it."
Padilla says the unofficial boxes "don't have a chain of custody and we don't have the requirements or regulations for these fake drop boxes as you do for the official drop boxes. We have a ton of requirements on official drop boxes. That's where we should be driving voters to."
The unofficial boxes news comes as Donald Trump is attempting to label mail-in voting as illegitimate, even though he himself has voted by mail in the past.