Now that the California Republican Party can't buy enough voter registrations to stay viable they've come up with a new scheme: Planting official-looking ballot collection boxes throughout the state to "harvest" Republican ballots.
After news got out Monday about it, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the issuance of formal cease-and-desist orders to state and county-level Republican parties in Fresno, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties.
“Misleading voters is wrong regardless of who is doing it,” Padilla told reporters on Monday, emphasizing that the boxes “are not permitted by state law.”
Becerra was more blunt. calling the boxes “fake,” and stressing that it was “illegal to tamper with a citizen’s vote.” He warned that such activity could be subject to criminal prosecution or civil action.
That cease-and-desist and the statements by those Democratic officials prompted the mostly-on-life-support California Republican Party to admit that yes, those dropboxes were theirs, and too bad, California, they're going to keep doing it.
Hector Barajas, a spokesman for the California Republican Party, said the party would continue to distribute the boxes, without adding any label identifying them explicitly as Republican ballot drops.
Mr. Barajas — who disclosed that Republicans were responsible for the boxes only after being bombarded by questions by reporters on Monday — said the party’s actions were legal because state law did not restrict “ballot harvesting,” a practice that allows businesses or other organizations to collect batches of completed ballots.
“There is nothing in any of the laws or regulations cited in that advisory that indicate private organization drop boxes are not permitted,” said Mr. Barajas, who blamed Democrats for blocking anti-harvesting legislation.
“The way Democrats wrote the law, if we wanted to use a Santa bag, we could,” he said. “A locked heavy box seems a lot safer,” Mr. Barajas said.
Secretary of State Padilla dismissed that ridiculous claim, stressing to reporters that the boxes were not covered by legal protections, because they were intended to “mislead voters and erode the public trust.”
Here's what I think they're intended to do: Harvest Republican ballots and toss Democrats'. All they'd need is a list of registered Republicans in the areas where their illegal receptacles are located to take the Republican ballots and discard the rest. I don't put that past them, so I hope they get the book thrown at them, sooner rather than later.