Tues 10/13: Reminder: The CA GOP is not above the law.

ACTION #1: Reach out to our county’s district attorney, Greg Totten, and TELL HIM TO DO HIS JOB! Arrest and charge those behind the fake ballot boxes!

Just weeks before a national election, the CA GOP is openly violating CA law by infesting our communities with fraudulent ballot drop boxes. CNN wrote a story “The biggest election fraud story you haven’t heard about.” On Monday, CA’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said he had received “disturbing reports” that some GOP officials “may not be prepared or willing to remove those boxes.” This is a breathtaking assertion of privilege, in a country where Americans have died at the hands of law enforcement over broken headlights and expired license tags.

Becerra stated that if the boxes aren’t removed, the Republican leaders could face prosecution. Again, point of privilege for the GOP. The crime has already been committed, but they are being given extra chances. We prefer the approach of the Orange county district attorney, who has already launched a criminal investigation into at least two unauthorized ballot boxes in their county.

What is our district attorney, Greg Totten, an elected official, BTW, doing about the boxes that are now showing up in Ventura County? Has he made a statement? Is he committed to doing his job? Contact him here. (A.G. contact info. outside Ventura Co. here.)

Minimal script: I’m writing as a resident of Ventura County, who is outraged by the blatant law-breaking of the CA GOP, who has placed fake ballot boxes in our county and others. These people are not kids who are ignorant of the law. This is a group with access to lawyers and other advisors who know very well that these boxes are illegal, yet, due to their perception of their own power and position, believe themselves to be above the law. You were elected to office with the expectation that you would address to all kinds of crime. Election law violations are particularly corrosive to a stable democracy, yet we haven’t heard from you. Do your job – Arrest and prosecute those behind this criminal campaign.

CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra has stated that counties would have to contact all voters who used these boxes – so their stunt now costs us taxpayers money as well. In addition to punishment for this egregious flouting of the law, we want the CA GOP to fully compensate the county – i.e. us taxpayers, for all time that must now be spent calling voters who used the fake boxes. We are waiting to hear from you.

Copy Becerra: Copy your note before you send it and paste it here on Becerra’s CA Attorney General site or call his offices at (Sac) (916) 445-9555, (SF) (415) 510-4400, (Oakland) (510) 879-1300, (LA) (213) 269-6000, (Fresno) (559) 477-1691, (San Diego) (619) 738-9000

(Our version of a letter to Becerra is located at the bottom.)

ACTION #2: Keep an eye out for these fake boxes and report them.

Get familiar with where you SHOULD SEE a ballot drop box in your area from this list. (Outside Ventura Co., go here.) In Ventura, there are (6) – three of them are at the Government Center, and one each is located at City Hall, the Pierpont Inn, and at the Ventura Unified School District office. If you see one that’s not on the list, call the Ventura County Elections Division immediately at (805) 654-2664 or after business hours at elections@ventura.org.

Outside Ventura, you can contact the office of the Sec. of State – (916) 653-6814. Residents can also report suspected election fraud by emailing 2020.election@da.ocgov.com.

Deeper Dive

Yeah, it’s illegal!

The GOP, which seems to have the laziest lawyers ever, are violating not one…but TWO CA laws – one regarding the ballot boxes themselves and the other regarding the return of ballots by others.

Update:

The box issue.

On Sunday, CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla said that “Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes — especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes — is not just misleading to voters, it’s a violation of state law. My office is coordinating with local officials to address the multiple reports of unauthorized ballot drop boxes. Californians should only use official ballot drop boxes that have been deployed and secured by their county elections office.” Those operating the unofficial drop boxes could face felony charges that carry up to two to four years in prison.

There are specific rules for maintaining ballot boxes, including the most important one – that they are under the control of the local elections official, not random political operatives. “Official county drop boxes are built with specific security protections, and ballots are retrieved only by designated county personnel.” said Padilla. Registrars also have to follow strict chain of custody rules for accessing the ballots.

Padilla’s office learned of unauthorized boxes in Fresno, Los Angeles, and Orange counties, including in northern LA county, where this one was spotted in front of Freedom’s Way Baptist Church in Castaic. Pastor Jerry Cook promoted the box (great video with article!)on Facebook and the church said the “approved and brought by the GOP,” adding that church officials don’t have a key to the box and that GOP officials would collect the ballots. (UPDATE: One spotted in Simi Valley. Already reported.)

The CA GOP defends their misinterpretation of what they call “ballot harvesting. “If a congregation/business or other group provides the option to its parishioners/associates/ or colleagues to drop off their ballot in a safe location, with people they trust, rather than handing it over to a stranger who knocks on their door — what is wrong with that?” a spokesperson for the California GOP wrote on Twitter.

Yep. We’re getting to that. The “RETURN” issue.

Yes, a person other than yourself can deliver your ballot to all the legal options, like the elections office, a in-person polling place or a legitimate drop-off box. You, the voter, must designate a specific person, not an entity like a church or a gun store, to take on this legal responsibility. “The person designated shall return the ballot in person, or put the ballot in the mail, no later than three days after receiving it from the voter or before the close of the polls on election day, whichever time period is shorter.”  Failure to do so is a crime.

This is what compliance looks like on from the voter’s standpoint. (More voting information here!)

Why are they risking this highly illegal maneuver?

So help us imaginatively-challenged souls out here. What’s the GOP’s end-game – worth sending some unpaid interns, church pastors and shop owners to jail for a couple of years?

  • They can use it to prove that CA doesn’t take voting security seriously, delegitimizing the integrity of our election. With incredible chutzpah, they might even use their own fake boxes as proof of the inherent corruption of mail-in elections, corruption assuredly being done “by both sides.”
  • If you’ve gone door knocking recently, an app on your smart phone can tell you the names and party affiliations of everyone in the homes you approach. Your mail-in ballot must include your name and address on the back of the envelope – all the info they need. So…are they planning on returning the Republican ballots in a timely fashion, while letting the odd Democratic ones linger past the deadline? Ballot tracking only works to official places, not to or from fake ballot boxes.
  • Are they going use their ill-gotten gains to stage fake post office “lost mail” photo-ops to undermine the reputation of mail delivery? Fake “corrupt-election-officials-dump-ballots” photos?
  • OK – this is just to laugh. “On Friday, a regional field director posted a photo on Twitter showing him holding a ballot in front of a box with the label “Official ballot drop-off box,” writing: “Doing my part and voting early… DM me for convenient locations to drop your ballot off at!” This is the same party that only wanted ONE DROP-OFF BOX PER COUNTY IN TEXAS! (This draconian edict has returned!)
  • Because they believe that they are the chosen ones who can do anything they want with impunity.
  • We put no outlandish scheme past a political party who’s encouraging COVID-deniers and QAnon believers. Stay tuned.

Indivisible Ventura’s letter.

We are writing as California residents who are outraged by the appearance of fake ballot boxes in Ventura County, the handiwork of operatives of a major political party. They deliberately violated the laws regarding official ballot boxes (https://www.sos.ca.gov/administration/regulations/current-regulations/elections/emergency-vbm-ballot-drop-boxes-and-vbm-drop-locations) and the law pertaining to how a ballot can be returned by other than the voter himself. (CA Elections code – Division 3, 3017(a)(2)) These people are not misguided amateurs who are ignorant of these laws. This is a group with access to lawyers and other advisors who know very well that these boxes were illegal, yet, due to their perception of their own power and position, believe themselves to be above the law. Now they are openly flouting the law to the press, saying they can do what they want and no one can stop them. 

A.G. Becerra – You say that they have until Thursday to remove them, which is patently ridiculous. Is this a gentlemen’s club or does CA now give all criminals several days to remove evidence of their crimes? Do you normally allow shoplifters, burglars and carjackers two days to bring their loot back? If you’d told the state GOP board members that they would be arrested if the boxes weren’t gone in an hour, those boxes would be gone. Send out law enforcement and confiscate them now.

You also stated that officials would have to contact every voter who used these boxes, so now this stunt of the CA GOP now becomes a cost to us, the taxpayers and an additional burden to our counties. We are forced to foot the bill of the President’s Hatch Act violations to enrich his own campaign. We will not stand for this nonsense here.

You were elected to office with the expectation that you would address all kinds of crime and to protect us from this kind of corruption. Election law violations are particularly corrosive to a stable democracy. We’ve read that the punishment for this crime could be 2-4 years in prison, yet we see no arrests. We see no discussion of fines, or compensation for the work they’ve added to our counties when they are already stretched to their breaking point. Or is imprisonment and fines the kind of justice meant just for people of color and those of little means? 

We don’t care about the churches and stores that were told these boxes were legal. Their trust was abused. Arrest and prosecute those behind this criminal campaign. We are waiting for a statement from your office making it clear that the CA GOP are not above the law and that CA GOP Chairwoman Jessica Patterson, LA County’s Dr. Richard Sherman, Fred M. Whitacker of Orange County, Mike Osborn of Ventura, Fred Vanderhoof of Fresno and any other GOP officials of counties infested with this lawlessness have been served arrest warrants.

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