California officials launched an investigation Monday after unofficial mail-in voting drop boxes were found across several counties.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla said his office is looking into reports of the unauthorized drop boxes, according to Fox News.
“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,” Padilla said. “This is also an important reminder. Voters are in control of how to return their ballot, and they have multiple safe and secure options for doing so. Ballots can be returned by mail, to any in-person voting location, or to an official secure drop box. Never hand your ballot over to someone you don’t trust.”
Reports of unofficial ballot drop boxes emerged last week after a regional field director for the California Republican Party allegedly shared a post on Twitter encouraging people to message him for “convenient locations” to drop their ballots at, according to The Orange County Register.
However, the dropbox is allegedly unofficial. The Secretary of State office has since reportedly received numerous reports about unauthorized drop boxes in Fresno, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties, per the same report. (RELATED: California County Election Officials Tell Voters To Stop Trying ‘To Disinfect’ Mail-In Ballots)
Another unofficial drop box was found outside Freedom’s Way Baptist Church in Castaic, California, and the Los Angeles County Recorder/Registrar’s office said the box was unofficial, per KCBS-TV.
Neal Kelley, the Registrar of Voters for Orange County said voters “should only use official drop boxes.”
There have been recent reports of groups promoting unofficial ballot drop boxes that are not affiliated with Orange County, CA Elections. Voters who want to return their ballot at a drop box should only use official drop boxes. View the press release at https://t.co/rZGjhYKii0 pic.twitter.com/0f1MJrx3Hm
— OC Registrar (@OCRegistrar) October 12, 2020
“One of my important roles as the chief election official for Orange County is to provide options for voters – in fact tens of thousands of voters have utilized our official ballot drop boxes in recent days,” Kelley said. “It’s important for groups, or individuals, to understand that attempting to post or install unofficial ballot drop boxes is in violation of state law.”
California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said the outrage is “overblown” in an official statement to the Daily Caller.
“Democrats are now upset because organizations, individuals and groups are offering an opportunity for their friends, family, and patrons to drop off their ballot with someone they know and trust,” Barajas said. “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.”
“If Democrats are so concerned with ballot harvesting, they are the ones who wrote the legislation, voted for it, and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law. California Republicans would be happy to do away with ballot harvesting,” Barajas continued.
California expanded its ballot collection program in 2016 to allow any person to collect an absentee ballot, regardless of if they aren’t a relative or housemate, according to CBS.
The Daily Caller has reached out to the office of Alex Padilla but did not receive a response at the time of publication.