Ahead of the Nov. 3 election, one in which Cal Poly Pomona will serve as a voting center, the California Republican Party admitted to placing more than 50 unsanctioned ballot drop boxes throughout Southern California.
The unofficial drop boxes were found throughout Los Angeles, Fresno and Orange counties, and the practice has been characterized by state officials as illegal. While the unofficial drop boxes were removed, the state Republican Party said it will continue to distribute boxes that are not labeled as official to instead be used for “ballot harvesting”, a practice that allows a third party to collect voters’ completed ballots.
Fourth-year business student Alex Lira is voting in this year’s election and believes that the state’s current situation could get worse if students ignore the Republican Party’s behavior. For those who have never voted before, these fake drop boxes may be indistinguishable from official drop boxes. “If students are not aware of what appears to be an official ballot dropbox and a fake one, they could potentially lose their vote,” said Lira. “One becomes many and it could seriously corrupt the whole system around the election, causing more delays and damage to our country.”
According to the Secretary of State office, mail ballots accounted for 58.92% of all ballots cast in 2016. More than 6.5 million ballots have been returned this election in the state as of Oct. 24, according to Political Data, Inc.
Fourth-year political science student, Breanna Ruiz, prefers voting at a polling place, and she feels as though many people are taking this incident the wrong way.
“I don’t think that they necessarily pulled a stunt like this with ill intent,“ said Ruiz. “I think that they set up the boxes in order for voters to be able to drop off ballots to local party offices and have the local party offices secure them for these voters.” CPP can also look forward to an increase in the number of young voters either on campus or by mail.
According to the Brookings Institute, Gen Z and Millenials combined makeup 37% of eligible voters in the United States.
Fourth-year business student Briana Aguilar voted by mail this week and believes that fake ballot drop boxes shouldn’t stop any CPP students from voting by mail.
“It’s hilarious to see the Republican Party stoop so low to try win or alter peoples votes, but it’s also dangerous because the police can’t go arrest the Republican Party for doing such a thing,” said Aguilar. “I think people should vote however they please, but just be mindful of where they drop their ballots off.”
There are a number of official ballot drop boxes within a 5-mile radius of campus. These locations include Pomona City Hall, the Walnut Library, and Pantera Park located in Diamond Bar. For more information on where to find official ballot drop boxes visit https://caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov/.
CPP is also offering multiple avenues to vote in this year’s election.
(Feature image courtesy of Element5 Digital)
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