In a tweet, California GOP regional field director Jordan Tygh posed in front of one of the unofficial boxes, implying that he had already cast his ballot in it, writing “DM me for convenient locations to drop your ballot off at!” Tygh then deleted his post.
Similarly, the Fresno County Republican Party’s website posted a now-deleted list of “ballot collection box locations,” which included some of the unofficial containers.
The multiple ballot boxes reported by the local outlets aren’t listed as official ballot return locations, the Washington Post reported. Furthermore the secretary of state’s office warned that the installment of said boxes could be a felony, carrying a two-to-four year prison sentence.
The California GOP did not comment on the situation, despite multiple requests from both local and national news organizations. However, the party apparently defended the drop-off boxes on Twitter.
“If a congregation/business or other group provides the option to its parishioners/associates/ or colleagues to drop off their ballot in a safe location, with people they trust, rather than handing it over to a stranger who knocks on their door — what is wrong with that?” California Republicans tweeted in response to a question about the questionable new boxes.
If a congregation/business or other group provides the option to its parishioners/associates/ or colleagues to drop off their ballot in a safe location, with people they trust, rather than handing it over to a stranger who knocks on their door – what is wrong with that?
— CAGOP (@CAGOP) October 11, 2020
The GOP also referred to a 2016 law that the party argued legalized the so-called ‘ballot harvesting’. Also called ‘ballot collecting’ it’s a practice of third parties gathering mail-in ballots and delivering them to election officials.
Despite the fact that it hasn’t been confirmed whether any Republican operatives were involved in setting up the unofficial ballot boxes, internet users were quick to accuse them of “election fraud.” “The California GOP set up illegal ballot drop off boxes. Republicans can’t ‘win’ without cheating,” tweeted Resistance pundit Scott Dworkin.
BREAKING: The California GOP is now accused of setting up fake mail-in voting drop boxes in the state.
This is how they operate. Trump calls the election rigged, and then the Republicans rig it!
— Mrs. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) October 12, 2020
The California GOP set up illegal ballot drop off boxes. Republicans can’t “win” without cheating. It’s pathetic. Let’s vote them all out.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) October 12, 2020
The California Republican Party was involved in an effort to prevent absentee voting during a pandemic. Now their staff is involved in election fraud. This is what the GOP has devolved into. Shameful. https://t.co/YTy9sXBkYX
— Mike Madrid (@madrid_mike) October 12, 2020
Former TYT contributor Hasan Piker quipped that the GOP was “doing voter fraud ‘to own the libs.’”
‘Ballot harvesting’ has been somewhat of a hot topic in Republican circles for a while now. Most notably, at the end of September many US conservatives, including President Donald Trump, shared reports alleging that Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar might have abused the process by setting up a cash-for-ballots operation in her home state of Minnesota.
Omar vehemently denied any involvement in voter fraud. About a week later, ballot collector Liban Osman, who was featured in the conservative group Project Veritas’ investigation of the congresswoman, accused the organization of trying to bribe him to lie about her on camera. Project Veritas’ attorney called the claims a “baseless accusation,” denying that they offered Osman any money.
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