In a new twist in the voting by mail saga, it was discovered that Republicans in California were placing unauthorized ballot dropboxes in an attempt to gather voter ballots.
"The California Republican Party installed dozens of unauthorized ballot dropboxes in at least four Southern California counties, where there are competitive House races this year." While those responsible claimed that this was an attempt to assist voters by gathering their ballots for processing, it is easy to see why many objected to this tactic and saw it as obstructionist. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Republicans would "lie, cheat, and threaten our democracy all for the sake of gaining power."
Regarding the legality of the move, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla's office stated that "state law only permits election officials -- not political parties -- to establish dropboxes for voters to return their ballots." This by definition makes the Republican drop boxes illegal. The boxes are currently under investigation and a determination will be made on whether charges need to be filed against those responsible.
President Donald Trump has expressed support for those responsible for the unauthorized boxes, tweeting "See you in court. Fight hard Republicans!" Ironically, President Trump has long falsely claimed that mail-in voting led to voter fraud, so his support for those who are actively trying to add chaos to the system comes across as questionable.
While it is unclear whether the unauthorized boxes led to registered voter's ballots not being counted, another more nefarious reason may be at play. As CNN analyst Jessica Huseman said, unauthorized collection of absentee ballots could all just be a subtle way to create chaos and further undermine voter confidence in the process of mail-in voting. Only time will tell.