In a photo posted to social media last week, a young man wearing a mask with Orange County congressional candidate Michelle Steel’s name on it is holding a mail ballot and giving a thumbs up next to a box about the size of a file cabinet labeled “Official ballot drop off box.”
The post, from Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party, encouraged people to message him for “convenient locations” to drop their own ballots.
The problem is the drop box in the photo is not official – and it could be against the law.
The California Secretary of State has received reports in recent days about possible unauthorized ballot drop boxes in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties, agency spokesman Sam Mahood said Sunday evening. Reports place such boxes at local political party offices, candidate headquarters and churches.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla said his office is coordinating with local elections officials to look into the reports.
Only county elections officials can oversee ballot drop boxes, choosing the number, location, hours of operation and other details. County registrars are charged with making sure every box follows strict state guidelines for security, including making sure they can’t be tampered with and tracing the chain of custody of all ballots.
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