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California GOP won't comply with order on unofficial ballot drop boxes

The California Republican Party said it will not comply with an order from Sacramento to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes it has distributed around the state.

"We are going to continue this program. If he wants to take us to court, then we'll see him in court," Hector Barajas, spokesman for the party, told ABC7, referring to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D). 

In a follow-up letter to Padilla, the California GOP noted that it had distributed similar boxes during the primaries earlier this year “without incident or objection from your office.”

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The standoff comes amid an ongoing feud over the way the California Republican Party is collecting ballots.

State law allows “ballot harvesting,” or the practice of collecting multiple ballots to submit to election officials. But officials say the drop boxes distributed by the state party are incorrectly marked as “official” and lack required anti-tampering protections. 

"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 in a news conference Monday. 

“We hope that the message goes out loud and clear to anyone who is trying to improperly solicit, obtain, and manage a citizen’s vote that they are subject to prosecution,” California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Emails show Interior ethics officials raised concerns over video promoting Trump | Endangered Species rollback faced early pushback within administration | 17 states sue EPA for declining to tighten air pollution standards 17 states sue EPA for declining to tighten air pollution standards Biden selects Gina Raimondo for Commerce chief: reports MORE (D) added. “I’m trying to be careful with how I say this, but the reports we are hearing are disturbing.” 

Republicans alleged that the state government is trying to suppress GOP votes after the officials issued a cease-and-desist order for the boxes’ removal, with Barajas saying on Monday that “Democratic anger is overblown.”

"If Democrats are so concerned with ballot harvesting, they are the ones who wrote the legislation, votes for it, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law," he said.

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Republicans got a boost earlier this week when President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE urged the party to not back down over Sacramento’s order. 

“Fight hard Republicans,” Trump tweeted. “They have been taking advantage of the system for years!”

Neither the California Republican Party nor Padilla’s office immediately responded to requests for comment from The Hill.