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The Real and ‘Unofficial’ Ballot Boxes in California and What to Do About it

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The California GOP has now famously placed their own unofficial ‘voter ballot drop boxes’ around the state.  CNN and as well as local press outlets have confirmed unofficial ballot boxes in Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno counties, the state GOP spokesman Hector Barajas has openly admitted to the practice and told the Orange County Register on Wednesday that they’ve distributed these boxes to “far more counties.”

Barajas declined to identify any locations or say how many total boxes they’ve purchased, only saying a report that pegged the number at “as many as 100” was too low. And the party confirmed it used an identical process to collect ballots during the primary election in March.

A tweet showing an unofficial ballot drop box has raised concern from elections officials, with similar boxes being reported throughout the state.

This unofficial ballot harvesting is not new in California, it has already been used in past elections since a law changed in 2016, and the GOP’s reported boxes have so far all been placed in Republican communities.  A GOP spokesman told the press that someone in each office is designated to collect the ballots at least every three days and deliver them to the local county registrar. He said that’s what they’ve done with all ballots collected through the boxes so far and what they’ll continue to do going forward.

California, is getting a lesson in how to run elections in the future, with less confusion.  For starters, why does every county have a differently designed ‘official’ ballot box?  And why is it not clearly illegal, to ‘harvest ballots’ if you are not an official county election representative?  It appears the true legal dispute is with some of the GOP’s ballot boxes having the word ‘Official’ on them.  That is the violation, simply collecting ballots and then turning them in, is not necessarily illegal in California.

If I hand my ballot to a friend, to deliver it to a polling station, that is not a crime.  Tampering with, destroying or falsifying ballots is a crime.

In 2016, under Assembly Bill 1921, the state Legislature expanded the law to let any person, not just a family member, return someone’s ballot for them. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who authored the bill, said at the time it would remove another obstacle for voters.  So, ballot harvesting by the GOP, is not necessarily illegal.

Official county election boxes look different in each county.  If you are unsure if it is ‘official’, you can always cross check it via https://caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov/.

Montclair County Ballot Box for example

Richard Lamberson, of Montclair, drops off his ballot in the official ballot drop off box at the Montclair Civic Center in Montclair on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Sonoma County Ballot Boxes look like this:

Sonoma County Ballot box

 San Francisco County Early Voting Centers

Official Civic Center vote ballot drop off.

In San Francisco, there are several official early voting stations, where you can also register to vote, or just drop off your ballot.  You can find any official ballot drop off locations in all of California here: https://caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov/.  Or, you can always simply drop it in any official post office mailbox!

Sometimes I think it is time to call in U.N. elections monitors to show us how to run a proper electino again?  With all the subterfuge happening in the GOP, with President Trump calling into question our voting system nearly everyday, and GOP operatives in various states, fucking with the voting process, from restricting the vote in Texas to sabotaging our federal postal service, to simply collecting ballots unofficially in California, maybe the USA should be treated like any other underdeveloped country with a dictatorship problem?  And ask for third party help.

It is being made clear, every day, that if the losing party can cause enough confusion, they can undermine the democratic process completely.  Since no impactful amount of voting fraud has ever been found in any past Presidential election, you can bet that the GOP are trying a different tactic.  If there is no actual voter fraud, they simply must create the illusion that there is, and see if the effect is the same.

After all, if the American voter believes they’ve been cheated,  (true or not) the effect of destabilizing the election result may be the same.  In the end, Democracy is about trusting one another, and Trump wants you to trust no one, but him.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife (not so much nightlife anymore).

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