Trump tweets support for Republicans who installed unofficial ballot drop boxes in California
President Trump tweeted on Wednesday in support of the Republicans who installed unofficial ballot drop boxes in California, a move that state officials labeled as misleading and illegal.
“Fight hard Republicans,” Trump posted. “They have been taking advantage of the system for years!”
The president included a link to a Monday report that California officials are issuing a cease-and-desist letter to Republicans ordering them to remove the ballot drop boxes incorrectly labeled as “official.”
In his tweet, Trump reiterated the California Republican Party’s defense of the ballot boxes. Hector Barajas, a spokesman for the state GOP, said Monday that the ballot boxes were legal because state law permits organizations, volunteers and campaign workers to gather finished ballots and drop them off at polling places or election offices.
“If Democrats are so concerned with ballot harvesting, they are the ones who wrote the legislation, votes for it, and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law,” Barajas said a statement, saying the “Democrat anger is overblown.”
The president has repeatedly criticized Democrats for practicing “ballot harvesting” when a third-party gathers completed ballots.
Fight hard Republicans. They have been taking advantage of the system for years! https://t.co/vaToeGjrHG
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2020
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) and State Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) demanded the more than 50 unauthorized absentee ballot drop boxes be removed. They gave the GOP until Thursday to remove the boxes that were placed in Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno Counties.
“These unauthorized drop boxes are a disservice to state and local election administrators who have spent months working on the placement and deployment of official ballot drop boxes,” Padilla said during a Monday press conference, noting that only county election officials have the authority to place ballot boxes.
Trump also posted a similar tweet Tuesday night.
“You mean only Democrats are allowed to do this? But haven’t the Dems been doing this for years? See you in court. Fight hard Republicans!” he wrote.
In response to that tweet, Becerra instructed those handling ballots to “obey the law — not politicians.”
“The last person who should be providing legal advice is the guy who has lost to California in court over and over,” he wrote.
When it comes to handling ballots, obey the law — not politicians. The last person who should be providing legal advice is the guy who has lost to California in court over and over. https://t.co/uR8oTrRipb
— Xavier Becerra (@XavierBecerra) October 14, 2020
Padilla said in a statement to The Hill on Wednesday that “California law is clear – it is illegal to establish unofficial drop boxes and to misinform voters about how to vote by mail.”
“The President should not advocate breaking our state laws,” he added.
In recent months, Trump has promoted unfounded claims that mail-in voting, which is more popular during the coronavirus pandemic, opens up the election to fraud.
Last month, the president suggested to North Carolina supporters that they should illegally attempt to vote twice – once by mail and once in person – to test the election system.
–Updated at 2:40 p.m.