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In ballot box battle, Dems and GOP both claim victory. Why this fight fizzled.

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In a press conference seemingly designed to deescalate a week-long legal standoff, declare victory and profoundly confuse the California press corps, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla said they would not be taking legal action against the California Republican Party for its makeshift ballot box program. 

But the two Democrats insisted that the GOP had changed policy in response to their warnings — a claim the Republicans denied. 

Here's what you need to know about ballot harvesting in California. (Yes, it's legal)

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The term “ballot harvesting” is all over the news after the California Republican Party admitted to placing "unofficial" ballot drop boxes in a number of counties around the state. 

Elections officials say it is illegal, but Republicans argue the drop boxes are a legal form of ballot collection.

What Happens When You Make a Mistake on Your Ballot? I Learned The Hard Way

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Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble -- accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.

It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.

What to do if your ballot has a signature problem or you make other mistakes

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The unofficial ballot drop box controversy isn’t the only reason U.S. voters are anxious. People also have questions about mail-in voting, such as how to know if they signed in the right place, and whether their signatures will be recognized.

Kim Alexander, president of California Voter Foundation, says to make sure your ballot signature looks like the one on your driver’s license. 

Ballot for deceased voter raises concerns about L.A. County election integrity

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It wasn’t exactly news to Jonathan Savell that the previous owner of the home he purchased seven years ago was deceased. He bought it on probate.

But when two vote-by-mail ballots showed up this week, one for him and one for the previous owner, it made him wonder about the integrity of the November election. Due to the coronavirus, this is the first year every active voter in the state received a mail-in ballot.

Vote-by-mail fail: When a ballot arrives that isn’t for you

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When the ballots arrived in Susan Lambert’s mailbox earlier this week, everyone in the house was accounted for. There was one for her, one for her husband, and two for her adult step-sons.

And then there was the one for George.

Lambert, a playwright, producer and writer who lives in Pasadena, didn’t recognize the name. There wasn’t a George among her neighbors, nor was it the name of the prior owner of the home, which she bought 13 years ago.

Trump wants his supporters to watch polling locations. Is that allowed in California?

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President Donald Trump last week again brought into question the integrity of the upcoming election by suggesting, without evidence, that voters could engage in fraud at polling places. 

“Go into the polls and watch very carefully,” Trump said at the first presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Since the debate, Trump and his campaign have continued calls for poll watchers, calling on an “Army for Trump.” 

2020 Election Could Hinge on Whose Votes Don’t Count

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In a normal election year in any given state, hundreds or even thousands of absentee ballots get tossed for everything from late postmarks to open envelopes.

North Carolina rejected 546 ballots for missing witness signatures in the 2012 presidential race. Virginia tossed 216 ballots in the 2018 midterms because they arrived in an unofficial envelope. Arizona discarded 1,516 ballots for non-matching signatures the same year.

The 2020 presidential election will not be normal.

Scammers Are Mimicking Ballot-Tracking Text Service

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Identity theft experts and elections officials are on guard for a new type of cybersecurity threat - one that stands not just to rob you of your personal information, but undermine your faith in the election.

Last week, NBC 7 Investigates showed you how to track your ballot by signing up for text notifications.

Even then, Kim Alexander with the California Voter Foundation worried bad actors might capitalize on this new statewide voter service.

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