California Republicans refuse to hand over information about who used their unofficial ballot drop boxes. Now, state Democratic leaders are taking them to court.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday filed a petition in the Sacramento Superior Court requesting the court order the CA GOP to comply with “investigative interrogatories,” or questions posed to the party about the use of unofficial ballot drop boxes.
Becerra is asking the court to force Republicans to provide the name, address and birth date of all individuals that deposited a vote by mail ballot in any of Republicans’ non-official drop boxes, as well as the number of drop boxes deployed by the party and their locations, according to court filings.
“Here in California, we’re doing everything in our power to protect the integrity of our elections,” Becerra said in a statement. “As part of that and pursuant to our statutory authority, we issued subpoenas and interrogatories to determine the extent to which the deployment of unauthorized ballot drop boxes may have impacted Californians.”
Last week, Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla issued a cease-and-desist letter to the California Republican Party and three local chapters in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties, to stop the use of unofficial ballot boxes. The boxes, which were found at churches, gun stores and other private businesses, were incorrectly marked as “official” and misled voters to believe they were secure, according to Becerra and Padilla.
The California Republican Party, through its attorney, maintains that the use of the word “official” was an isolated error, and said the boxes have always been secure and staffed by party volunteers. However, the party argues that such boxes are legal under California’s ballot collection laws, and has not agreed to stop using them in party headquarters. It will also continue to provide boxes to individuals who want to use them in their churches or businesses.
Becerra and Padilla say Republicans have taken steps to comply with the cease and desist letter, but they are still seeking more information about who used the drop boxes and where the boxes are located.
In an email, CA GOP spokesman Hector Barajas said Becerra’s petition is an abuse of power and that providing voter information would be a violation of privacy.
“The California Republican Party will not provide the Secretary of State or Attorney General a list of Californians who attend religious services, frequent firearms retailers, participate in political events, or engage in any other lawful activity,” Barajas said in an email. “We will stand up to this type of authoritarian bullying tactics.”
(c)2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
Visit The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) at www.sacbee.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.