October 28, 2020

Secret video taken at a GOP campaign headquarters and "Trump Store" in California shows store employees describing an operation to collect ballots in an unofficial ballot box. It also shows them offering to store ballots for voters in a safe. Via Vice:

The video was taken at a location in Newport Beach, California, by a citizen who sent the video along with a complaint to the Orange County Registrar of Voters. It was obtained by VICE News in a public records request from that office. The California GOP has defended its use of the ballot boxes and continued to use them, saying they’re legal under California’s ballot collection law, despite a cease-and-desist from Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The video in question was taken after the cease-and-desist was ordered, according to the person who filed a complaint.

The video shows several women in a store full of Make America Great Again hats, Blue Lives Matter flags, and other merchandise before the camera is covered up.

The person taking the video asks if there’s a ballot box at the location, to which someone else responds: “Yes.” Two women speaking with her reassure her that “it’s very safe” to drop her ballot off at that location. When the person recording the video mentions that she saw the physical ballot box in the headquarters previously, the campaigners respond: “Right, so it’s being delivered.”

“They physically pick up the box and take it and deliver it,” one of them says. If a ballot is dropped off while the ballot box isn’t there, she adds, “We lock it in our safe.”

The woman taking the undercover video asks for reassurance that it's safe to leave ballots there.

“We take the ballots just like all the other places, and we don’t have an official ballot box, we have an unofficial ballot box,” Libby Huyck, the chair of the Newport Harbor Republican Women group which runs the store, told VICE News Tuesday. “We put [the ballots] immediately into the safe.”

“We have the left stealing votes left and right. It’s just a matter of getting a grand jury to come in and investigate which they will once Trump is re-elected,” she added. Huyck declined to comment further, claiming VICE News “writes mean things about us.”

The GOP and Republican supporters have set up ballot boxes at locations including gun ranges and churches in at least four California counties, initially marking some of them as “official” ballot boxes before agreeing to drop that label after official complaints.

The GOP has pledged to keep using the boxes, arguing that they’re legal under the ballot collection law.

A trove of emails obtained by VICE News using a freedom of information request shows that citizens in the county have repeatedly complained about these ballot boxes, are confused by them, and that various organizations in the state are highly concerned by them. One box, run by the "Republican Club" at the Leisure World retirement community, has confused multiple voters, according to emails to the registrar of voters.

Ballot boxes for me, but not for thee! Republican hypocrisy is not news. They make their own rules, they do what they want, and they dare us to stop them.

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