California GOP Just Putting Up Fake Ballot Drop Boxes Everywhere, Totally Normal
For months, Republicans have been screaming and crying about how they think Democrats are gonna rig the election through mail-in ballots, even though the Democrats are not really the ones with the reputation for doing that. But it's not because they actually think that's going to happen, but because it's a well-worn bit of political wisdom that the more people vote, the more likely a Democrat is to win. Also because it's a safe bet that Democrats are more likely to take COVID-19 seriously, and thus less likely to put themselves or others at risk by voting in person.
Judges have shot down Republican attempts at limiting ballot drop boxes in both Ohio and Texas, but a slate of Trump appointees on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the lower court's ruling this weekend in Texas, allowing GOP Governor Greg Abbott's attempt to drastically reduce the number of ballot drop boxes to stand for now. Likewise the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the district court ruling in Ohio. (It's almost like Trump's GOP is the one doing the court-packing!)
But over in California — where pulling something like that off is far less likely — the GOP went the other way entirely. They decided instead to put up drop boxes everywhere. Unofficial drop boxes, that is. Unofficial drop boxes that, according to the state of California, are quite illegal.
"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," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, told The Post in an email. "My office is coordinating with local officials to address the multiple reports of unauthorized ballot drop boxes. Californians should only use official ballot drop boxes that have been deployed and secured by their county elections office."
California GOP Regional Field Director Jordan Tygh, in a now deleted tweet, shared a picture of himself "voting early" by dropping his ballot in one of the unofficial ballot boxes, what fun!
The California GOP claims it's simply taking advantage of a law passed by Democrats allowing for what Republicans call "ballot harvesting" — i.e., allowing for designated persons to collect and submit ballots.
@CBSLA California Democrats wrote the law (Assembly Bill 1921). Democrats voted for the legislation and Governor Je… https://t.co/Ndt2do6vT5— CAGOP (@CAGOP) 1602451024.0
What this law does is allow for designated people to go door-to-door collecting ballots, or to have "ballot parties" where everyone fills out their ballot and the ballots are then brought in by a designated official. Republicans, who have previously sued the state over this statute, say their fake ballot boxes are the same as doing this.
However, the law does not allow for people to just put out their own unattended ballot boxes anywhere they like — boxes that could be tampered with or not even handed over. They could very easily just put the boxes in liberal areas and then never actually take them in to be counted.
Padilla's office said on Sunday that the boxes are not legal under the 2016 law, because that statute requires a voter to designate a "person" to return the ballot, and there is no person present at the unofficial drop-off boxes. Official drop-off boxes, meanwhile, must satisfy a long list of requirements to secure the boxes and ensure ballots cannot be tampered with. The GOP's containers do not meet those requirements, Padilla said.
Putting them out could even lead to up to two years in prison for vote tampering.
This is one of the problems that arises from Republicans constantly lying about what Democrats are actually doing. Sure, a portion of the GOP will understand that it's just rhetorical shitposting, but others will sincerely believe it. They will think doing something like this is totally legal when it is not, and they could end up in prison for it.
And then we'd all feel really, really sad for them.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse