California officials on Monday sent a cease and desist order to the state’s Republican leaders demanding the removal of unauthorized ballot drop-off boxes placed by the party in at least three counties, allegedly in violation of local election law.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Republicans have until Thursday to remove the boxes, which have recently popped up at local candidate headquarters, political party offices, churches and other locations in Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno counties, the Orange County Register reported.
Otherwise, state GOP officials could face both civil and criminal charges that can carry felony penalties of up to four years in prison, Padilla said.
Reports about the unauthorized boxes began pouring into the Secretary of State’s office over the weekend. Images showed that some of them have been labeled as “official,” despite that not being the case.
“The problem here is with voters unknowingly delivering their ballots to an unofficial drop box mislabeled and misrepresented as an official drop box, they do not know to who it is they’re surrendering their ballot,” Padilla said during a press conference.
“The impression [voters] have with the words ‘official drop box’ is that they’re surrendering it to a county official. And that’s not the case.”
A spokesman for the California Republican Party, Hector Barajas, admitted that the party had set up an unspecified number of its own ballot drop-off boxes — but insisted it was legal to do so.
“We’re not going to stop this program,” he said.
With Post wires
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