A California Republican Party spokesman acknowledged to The New York Times on Friday that it used the title and cover of a state commission on handling election complaints to mail out thousands of leaflets and to place large ballot boxes throughout the state that seemed to be intended to be used to test the accuracy of voting machines — but which were, in fact, for the Democrats to pick up as part of a Democratic field operation to boost turnout in the state’s gubernatorial race.
“We fully engaged in several efforts to ensure as accurate a voting process as possible in 2018,” said Jordan Ahn, a Republican Party spokesman, in a statement released via email. “As part of that effort, in order to facilitate communicating with voters who may have fallen through the cracks during the election, we used a placeholder and election-related title for our election materials. In this case, that title was clearly visible to voters as they were deciding where to vote.”
This week, days after hundreds of “obstructionist” Democrats were spotted on a Fresno street looking at election supplies, Republican consultants claimed that the Democrats were trying to disrupt their vote-counting effort, which their consultant at the time, Ronna Romney McDaniel, a former chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, described in a tweet as “pushing democrats out of their polling places.”
But on Friday, the California Republican Party conceded that their voter protection attempts were inadvertently, and quickly, turned into ballot-box pick-ups by Democrats.
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, meanwhile, tweeted that the typo-riddled leaflets were “a move by the Left to cause voter fraud.”
State and local Republican Party officials say they have no evidence that anyone used any of the ballots in question.