California Democrats want to know who’s been using the unofficial ballot boxes set out in various locations by the state Republican, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is a Democrat, went to court on Tuesday to force the issue. Becerra is asking a judge with the Sacramento Count Superior Court to order the GOP to hand over names and contact information of every voter whose ballot was dropped one of those boxes.
The legal action by Becerra follow cease and desist letters fellow Democrat and Secretary of State Alex Padilla and he sent to Republicans last week.In those letters the officials ordered that the word "official" be removed from the drop boxes, and they claimed them to be illegal. However, Becerra and Padilla backed down last Friday after leaders with CAGOP insisted the boxes were being used as a means of collecting ballots, according to the state’s "ballot harvesting" law approved by the Democratic controlled California Legislature.
The state justice department is still investigating the drop boxes, and subpoenas sent to Republican officials called for them to identify every location where the boxes have been placed in addition to information about anyone who's used them.
The Republicans ignored the subpoenas, claiming state officials have no right to the information. They said giving up the information Becerra wants would be a violation of voters' constitutional rights.
Becerra now says he's trying to do "everything in our power to protect the integrity of our elections."
He wants to the judge side with him and do it quickly, since Election Day is just only days away. He says it's crucial that the State can confirm that any ballot dropped into one of the GOP boxes actually reaches the appropriate county elections office to be counted.
California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas describes Becerra's lawsuit as "an abuse of power." He also notes that their boxes are all located on private property with the consent of the property owners.
"We will stand up to this type of authoritarian bullying tactics," Barajas said. "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."
Some the GOP ballot boxes were reportedly placed in districts with hotly contested California congressional races.