California Republicans defend unofficial ballot boxes as subpoenas are issued

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California officials on Friday said that the state Republican Party has agreed to no longer deploy “unstaffed, unsecured, unofficial and unauthorized” private ballot boxes and that subpoenas have been issued in an investigation into how the containers have been used in at least three counties.

“The California Republican Party can conduct valid collection activities, but they have to play by the rules and follow state law,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told reporters.

But aside from correcting some boxes that were wrongly labeled as “official” locations for dropping off completed ballots, GOP officials continued Friday to insist that their activities have been legal. Party leaders have said they will continue to use the boxes to collect ballots, with staffers overseeing the process and delivering the ballots to county elections offices.

The battle between state officials and the GOP — sparked by revelations over the weekend that Republicans were stationing unofficial gray metal receptacles in Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno counties — has centered over the legality of using third-party collection boxes.

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