Trump Urges California Republicans to Defend Ballot Drop Boxes From Removal

October 14, 2020 Updated: October 14, 2020

President Donald Trump on Tuesday urged Republicans in California to push back against an order demanding the immediate removal of their ballot drop boxes.

“You mean only Democrats are allowed to do this? Haven’t the Dems been doing this for years?” Trump wrote on Twitter, encouraging local and state Republicans to defend the legitimacy of their ballot drop boxes. “See you in court. Fight hard Republicans!”

California changed its ballot collection law in 2018, allowing anyone, rather than a family member as previously required, to collect mail-in ballots from voters and return them to county election offices. Taking advantage of the change, Republicans placed “official” ballot drop boxes at Republican-friendly venues—including churches, gun stores, and party headwaters—in several California counties.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, both Democrats, issued a cease-and-desist order on Monday, declaring the practice illegal and that Republican officials will be prosecuted if they don’t remove those boxes by Thursday. The order also requests the names and addresses of the voters who dropped their ballots in the boxes, and the location of each box.

“Anyone who tampers with the vote is tampering with free and fair elections. We will do all that’s necessary under law to protect Californians’ right to vote,” Becerra said.

In response, California Republicans pointed out it was the Democrats who changed the rule prior to the 2018 state elections, suggesting the changes had left Republicans at a disadvantage at that time.

State Republican spokesperson Hector Barajas told The Epoch Times that the use of private ballot boxes is legal under the ballot harvesting law written by Democrats.

“If Democrats are so concerned with ballot harvesting, they are the ones who wrote the legislation, voted for it, and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law. California Republicans would be happy to do away with ballot harvesting,” Barajas wrote in an email.

“In California, where you can have convicted felons and individuals with a criminal history go door to door and collect ballots from voters, Democrats are now upset because organizations, individuals, and groups are offering an opportunity for their friends, family, and patrons to drop off their ballot with someone they know and trust,” he continued.

“The Democrats amended the law to remove all of the restrictions on WHO can harvest ballots and provided NO rules about HOW ballots can be collected except that someone cannot be compensated per-ballot.”