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'Thuggish Voter Intimidation': State GOP Says It Will Not Remove Unofficial Ballot Drop Boxes

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra Friday announced that the state Republican Party would remove unofficial ballot drop boxes, but party officials said they have not given in and called the Democrats' action "thuggish voter intimidation."

"The republic party's deployment of these unofficial and deceptive ballot drop boxes were in violation of state and they created voter confusion," Padilla said.

The ballot drop boxes — that do not look anything like the official ones cleared by the state — started showing up about a week ago, and prompted Padilla to issue a cease-and-desist order to the state Republican Party.

RELATED: California GOP Defends Use Of Unofficial Ballot Boxes

"I think the secretary of state along with the attorney general should probably look at the law that they ended up supporting," Hector Barajas, California GOP spokesperson, said Monday.

On Friday, Barajas said his party has made no concessions and would not provide further information about the program or voter records to the state.

"We can't agree to not do something we weren't doing to begin with," the party said in a statement. "This is a thuggish voter intimidation and vote suppression tactic by our Democratic Attorney General and Secretary of State."

RELATED: Orange County DA Says Ballots Dropped In Unofficial Boxes Will Be Counted

The party said that it would accept vote-by-mail ballots voluntarily delivered by voters to a local party office or headquarters through Election Day and secure those ballots in a locked box for no more than 72 hours before delivery to an appropriate election official. The party said it has not, and would not, place boxes unattended, outdoors or in other places where the general public gathers and represent that the boxes were "official" drop boxes.

Becerra said the case was not over and that his office has sent subpoenas to the state's Republican Party, because Padilla said officials had not yet fully responded to the cease-and-desist letter. The state also said it needed more information about how the party collected ballots.

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