As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s fuckery afoot this election season. In California, concerns surrounding unofficial ballot drop boxes have grown as multiple boxes have reportedly been found throughout the state.
According to the Orange County Register, there have been several reports of unofficial ballot drop boxes popping up around Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties.
One such box was found in front of Freedom’s Way Baptist Church in Castaic, Calif., according to KCAL 9. The box had a sign taped to it saying “Official Ballot Drop Box.” Jerry Cook, the church’s pastor, posted a photo of the box on Facebook with the caption, “Our church has a voting drop box in front of our complex — if you are voting early, drop your ballot on by.”
This is great, right? A church using its platform to increase voter turnout, it’s a beautiful thing.
At least it would be if it wasn’t a whole-ass lie.
Shannon Kaehny told KCAL 9 that after seeing the pastor’s Facebook post, she reached out to the L.A. County Recorder/Registrar’s office. The office responded to Kaehny on social media, saying: “This is not an official vote by mail drop box and does not comply with [state] regulations for drop boxes.”
The registrar’s office told KCAL 9 that they have been working to reach Pastor Cook and are currently drafting a cease and desist letter alongside legal counsel. The drop box has already been removed from outside the church.
A quick look at the church’s Facebook page reveals posts critical of the Black Lives Matter movement and that the church has hosted forums with local Republican politicians. The church even posted that the ballot box had been “approved and brought by the GOP.”
It’s crazy that a church with pro-Trump leanings would possibly engage in voter fraud considering they won’t shut the fuck up about it.
Considering how vocal the church has been about its political beliefs, they’ve garnered suspicion on why exactly the box was even put up. There are concerns about what might have been done with ballots put in the box.
Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party, posted a picture on Twitter in front of a ballot drop box in Orange County that had the exact same sign on it as the one outside Freedom Way’s church. The post was in support of Orange County congressional candidate Michelle Steele and Tygh encouraged his followers to message him for “convenient locations” to drop off their ballot. As you probably guessed, the ballot box was unofficial.
The Fresno County Republican Party also shared a list of “secure” ballot boxes on its website and, you guessed it, all them shits were fake.
Fun fact: Operating an unofficial ballot box is a felony that carries a sentence of 2-4 years prison time.
I’m not saying Republicans are running an illicit ballot drop box operation in an attempt to undermine the vote, but I’m also not not saying it.
So, if you happen to reside in California, and want to be certain about the legitimacy of your ballot drop box, go to the secretary of state’s website. There you’ll find a way to look up your county’s vote center and drop box locations.