At least two phony boxes have been sighted so far, including one at a church in Los Angeles County and another in Orange County, promoted in a since-deleted tweet by Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party. (In a photo included in the tweet, Tygh was wearing a mask promoting Republican congressional candidate Michelle Steel.) In addition, the Fresno County Republican Party posted a list of “secure” ballot return locations that did not match the county’s official list of sites. That page has also been scrubbed.
What exactly Republicans are doing with ballots deposited in this way we just can’t know. They claim to be operating these boxes under a California law that allows for third-party ballot collection, but even if they are actually delivering these ballots to election authorities, they’re still violating the law: The state requires that voters actually designate another person to return their ballot. Inanimate objects don’t qualify.
But it’s pretty hard to take someone who’s installing bogus drop boxes at their word. Are ballots being tampered with? Are they being discarded? Again, we have no idea—which is precisely why we rely on election officials to establish safe and secure drop boxes that can’t be messed with.
Let this serve as an unwelcome reminder that, no matter what state you live in, if you’re planning to return your ballot using a drop box, you should confirm that the site you’re planning to use is indeed an official one. You can check with your local election office online or by phone, and your ballot may also have come with a guide listing the addresses of official drop boxes.
It’s also a reminder of how badly Republicans are willing to cheat in order to win. Remember, these are only the sites we know about. We have to be on guard for the possibility of other fake drop boxes appearing elsewhere. Right now, the two most important things you can do to combat this is to warn your friends and family about the problem, and to donate to Democratic campaigns to help them communicate with voters about how they can safely cast their ballots.
Daily Kos has endorsed candidates in a record-breaking 60 races this cycle, but I’d like to specifically call your attention to our slate of candidates running for state legislature. These are contests where small-dollar grassroots donations go a long way. They also get less media attention, so Republicans are more likely to get away with criminal interference in our elections further down the ballot. We can’t let them.
Fight back against Republican election tampering! Donate $3 to these Daily Kos-endorsed candidates for state legislature across the country!