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California attorney general drops legal challenge over GOP ballot boxes

California’s attorney general has dropped a legal challenge seeking the names and contact information of every person who used one of the state Republican Party’s unofficial ballot drop boxes.

The party used the boxes to collect ballots in some counties with closely contested U.S. House races. It’s legal in California to collect completed ballots and turn them in on behalf of voters. But state law says only county election officials are allowed to deploy ballot drop boxes.

State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla initially ordered the party to remove the boxes. But they relented once the party made changes, including not labeling the boxes as “official.”

Still, Becerra vowed to keep investigating to make sure all of the ballots were counted. He asked the California Republican Party to turn over the location of each box plus the names and contact information for every voter who used one. Becerra launched a legal challenge when party officials refused to comply.

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California officials say the state Republican Party has agreed to stop deploying unauthorized ballot boxes. The group says it has made no concessions.

On Friday, the attorney general’s office announced it was dropping the effort because it was able to ensure that voters’ ballots were counted. In a written statement, the office said it relied on investigative efforts, cooperation with state and local election officials and a response to its questions by the party.

“We are confident that this election was safe and secure in California — as it was across the country,” the attorney general’s press office wrote in an email to reporters.

California Republicans have denounced Becerra’s investigation, saying they were following the law.

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“As we said all along, this was just a political ploy by the Attorney General and the Secretary of State – and they lost,” California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said.


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