The unauthorized ballot boxes, labeled illegal by state officials, were found in at least four counties in the state: Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, and Fresno.
“The ballot harvest program continues,” California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said in a statement to CNN.
The party made its intentions clear in a letter to the California Secretary of State on Wednesday. In the letter, lawyers for the state-run GOP say any ballot boxes used by the party are inside, manned by volunteers or party officials, safe and not marked as “official”
While pictures of the ballot boxes showed the ballot boxes marked “official”, the state-run GOP said it did not approve the use of that term and had it removed.
“The California Republican Party has not promoted or approved the security boxes as ‘official mailboxes’,” the letter said. “When we learned that on Saturday, October 10, 2020, a sign with the word ‘official’ was used in some places, we corrected this error immediately and within a few hours.”
A spokesman for California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, told CNN that his office was “in the process of reviewing the CA Republican Party’s reply.”
“We have a lot of requirements for official Dropboxes,” he continued. “That is where we should drive the voters.”
The California Republican Party’s deadline for completing or responding to the order ends Thursday evening.
Barajas said in an interview with CNN subsidiary KABC on Wednesday that “many” ballot boxes have been distributed across the country and that the party could potentially expand the program because “it is going well”.
“We will continue this program,” said Barajas in an interview. “If you want to take us to court, we’ll see you in court.”
Trump encouraged the GOP earlier this week not to comply with the order and to fight in court.
“You mean only Democrats are allowed to do this? But haven’t the Dems been doing this for years? See you in court. Fight tough Republicans!” Trump tweeted Tuesday night, misrepresenting state laws that allow any party to collect ballots as long as it is done in person.
While postal ballot fraud is rare, it is by no means a widespread problem in the US electoral system.
But that hasn’t stopped Trump and his allies from spreading a conspiratorial message against Dropboxing. The California dispute only marks the latest hot spot.
“Whether it’s technically legal or not, it’s extremely problematic for voters,” said Hasen, who is also a law professor at the University of California-Irvine.
This story was updated with additional information on Wednesday.