So Why DID Calif. Republicans Install Fake Ballot Drop Boxes?


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First, rather than merely linking you to the Registrar of Voters page with all of the information, we’ve brought it here to OJB for your convenience.  (Hat tip to John Earl for locating the list!)

And that brings us to a juicier topic — as of today, apparently one about which I now can use the past tense: What the hell was going on with the international story, seemingly centered in Orange County about California’s Republican Party erecting unofficial ballot drop boxes, falsely labeled as “official,” inside of party headquarters, churches, and gun shops at least, for the dropping off of ballots.

“Just drop that baby right here in this big empty space and don’t worry about it again!”

We should probably start at the end: why has the effort now reportedly ended?  I see three general possibilities.

  1. First, the bravado shown by the spokesperson for the California Republican Party regarding Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s challenge — “we’ll see you in court!” — turned out to have either been, or become, nothing but hot air.
  2. Second, the punishing press coverage may have led them to cut bait.
  3. Third, and most disturbing: they may have already achieved all or most of what they wanted.

Keep those possibilities in mind as we suss out what they had in mind in the first place.

Theories about Why California Republicans Have Put Up Fake “Official” Ballot Boxes

Theories abound as to what California Republicans are up to with their unofficial “official,” clearly-illegal-but-keeping-them-anyway-despite-the-law, ballot drop boxes located inside (we’re told, maybe, they ain’t saying) Republican Headquarters offices, churches, and gun stores (but maybe also outside)  This section of this post tries to collect, evaluate, and make sense of those theories.

I’ll probably add to this list of types of theories, but this is a start:

  1. Voter suppression
  2. Facilitating voter contact with their supporters
  3. Facilitating “ballot stuffing”
  4. Trying to make Republicans look good
  5. Trying to make Democrats look bad
  6. Desperate scream for attention
  7. Confusing and dispiriting potential voters
  8. Setting up a post-election court case (or simply excuse for losing)
  9. Intelligence gathering on the electorate of some sort
  10. Pwn the libs!
  11. Showing solidarity, in some odd way, with the East Asian community
  12. Not even they know

I’ll express my own views below.  For now, here’s a comment I left on Inge’s earlier post, originally left on Facebook, which explains my view on this:

Janet Nguyen (who has her own tough race) has been accused (by people who understandably won’t go on the record) of ordering ballots sent to Vietnamese nursing homes, then having pick up those ballots, fill them out, and forge that person’s signature in Vietnamese script.
(No, I can’t prove it, or I’d have gone to this DA — there was no point in going to the previous one — but more than one person from Little Saigon has tried to get me to write a story on it — back when Janet edged Correa in the State Senate race — but again none of them would go on the record, so I never had reliable facts to relate. I suspect that it’s true, though.)  Of course, our dogma suggests that this sort of thing never happens. (Convenient!)

But frankly, this would be a difficult trick to do — at least for voters who write in a Roman script (English, Latino, Tagalog) — because our ROV is quite good at doing such signature comparisons. But ones in Vietnamese script? Korean, Mandarin? Maybe, or maybe not so much! And I would think they’d be sensitive to looking racist by disqualifying too many such ballots.

I suspect that these boxes have being deployed because they attenuate the trail between these votes and the ROV’s desk. To abide by the law, you would have a designated person to whom the ROV could go to check out the provenance of the ballot. With this, they won’t have one — the provenance just traces back to the church’s box.

That’s what I suspect is going on. In fact, the ones in Fresno and elsewhere may be a false lead for investigators — as the two close races they’d be concerned about are right here, in and around Little Saigon. It would be hard to prove wrongdoing if everyone involved kept quiet, but alliances in Little Saigon are sometimes fluid — so it may not be impossible

There is a Congressional and a Senate seat to be had here, with two Republican candidates with strong ties to the political establishment. Is that enough motivation? And are those places (mostly still unannounced) on other counties sites of similar races with large populations using non-Roman scripts that make their signatures harder to match — or is this like those cases where a serial killer really only wants to kill one person, but kills a few more to send investigators off their trail?

When I vote, I may go to one of those boxes so as to have standing to sue if my ballot doesn’t show up. Let me know where they are, folks!

Here’s our commenter Donovan’s reply to our contributor Matt Munson’s defense of the GOP interpretation of the law:

I do not see why we need to tweak the rule. The rule is simple: write name of person authorized to turn in ballot, have them sign. Tracks identity, documents fraud or vote buying, and does not require govt to investigate family relationships.

These (fake) ‘official’ ballot boxes have none of those features. Either it’s a means of creating fraud so they can complain about fraud – or the work of some truly brain-dead operatives.

Maybe they got what they wanted — notoriety; a test of the system; a chance to “prove” that the law allowing you to give a ballot to someone else is ridiculous, in the same way that kidnapping someone and dressing them in a clown suit “proves” that they’re a clown — but I tend to doubt it.  What they got is an incident that will stick fast in our collective memory — and be used against them continually.  So, congratulations, GOP!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)