California elections officials say state GOP's ballot drop off boxes are illegal

An official ballot drop off box in Los Angeles County.
(Image credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Monday sent the state's Republican Party a cease and desist letter, saying they needed to immediately stop accepting ballots in unauthorized drop boxes.

Becerra and Padilla also requested a list of voters who used the unofficial drop off boxes, so they can make sure the ballots were put in the containers with their permission, the Los Angeles Times reports. The California Republican Party has until Thursday to turn over these names.

Over the weekend, a state GOP official in Orange County shared a photo on social media showing him dropping off a ballot in a private container that was marked "official ballot drop off box," and similar collection boxes were also spotted in the Los Angeles and Fresno areas.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Padilla told reporters on Monday that "unofficial, unauthorized ballot drop boxes are not permitted by state law. Political parties and campaigns can engage in get-out-the-vote efforts, but they cannot violate state law." On Sunday, the head of the secretary of state's enforcement division sent a memo to county officials saying they are the only ones who have "the authority to designate the location, hours of operation, and number of drop boxes in the county."

California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said on Monday that the box in Orange County was purchased by the party, but he would not say how many others are out there. The state GOP is rejecting the assertion that these boxes are illegal, arguing that they are acceptable under a 2016 law that allows voters to turn their ballots over to someone else to drop off. Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.