A judge in Sacramento has denied Attorney General Xavier Becerra's request for a rapid ruling in his lawsuit to force the California Republican Party to more fully cooperate with the state's Department of Justice investigation into use of unofficial ballot drop boxes.
The GOP has been collecting voters' ballots in those boxes placed in some counties where there are hotly contested congressional races.
As reported, Becerra has been looking into the legality of the boxes, and he sent a cease and desist letter to party officials just last week. In that letter he demanded he be given the location of each drop box and the names, addresses, and birth dates of anyone whose ballot was dropped into one. The Republicans responded by publicly refusing that order and insisting the boxes are perfectly legal. That's why Becerra asked a judge on Tuesday to make them comply.
The judge says the Attorney General's office had not shown "immediate harm or irreparable injury on the facts presented," according to court documents.
The ruling doesn't stop the lawsuit from moving forward, but it's now unlikely that it will be resolved before Election Day, and the CAGOP was quick to tweet reaction to that ruling.
"Sacramento Superior Court Judge Brown found that (Attorney General Becerra) provided no factual basis supporting the state's demand that we identify the voters who have entrusted us with their ballots, in connection with the CAGOP's ballot collection program, and no legal authority," spokesman Hector Barajas wrote on Twitter. "CAGOP will continue to help Californians vote safely and securely by continuing to gather ballots in trusted places, and deliver them promptly according to law. We urge voters to get their votes in NOW to avoid lines on Election Day."
Barajas had previously said the ballot drop boxes are allowed under a relatively new California ballot harvesting law passed by the Democratically controlled Legislature. Still, Becerra's office tells the Associated Press that the investigation is not ending and all legal options will still be considered.