WESTMINSTER (CBSLA) — The Orange County Registrar’s Office is investigating potential election interference after a video surfaced on social media showing what appeared to be a group of people with a box of discarded ballots on Election Day.
The short video shared to Twitter showed someone approaching supporters of California’s 48th District Congressional Republican candidate Michelle Steel.
The incident took place on Beach Boulevard in front of Apogee International, the skincare clinic of Westminster City Councilmember Kimberly Ho.
“What’s in the box?” one of the people filming was heard saying.
“It’s just trash,” someone wearing a “Steel” shirt responded.
It is not clear exactly whether those individuals are connected to Steel’s campaign.
“Is it trash or is it ballots?” the person filming asked again. “That looks like somebody’s ripping some ballots.”
A box containing a paper plate and some other items were shown.
O.C. Registrar officials responded to the tweet, saying they are investigating the report and working with the Orange County District Attorney’s office to look into what happened.
Steel is running against Harley Rouda, the Democratic incumbent U.S. Representative of California’s 48th District.
According to Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, “at least two Republican candidates” were involved in the allegations and that investigators recovered the “shells of bigger envelopes used for mail-in ballots.”
“It appears people were asking for assistance with voting, which happens all the time,” Spitzer said. “Anybody can help with a ballot, but once someone helps then they become the custodian of the ballot under ballot harvesting… So it appears as if (they) had assistance of with voting in conjunction with collection of ballots.”
A source also alleged that the office at Apogee International was claiming to be an official vote center.
“I don’t know why people showed up there,” Spitzer said. “That’s under investigation.”
Investigators interviewed people at the business and said they have “taken possession of some documentation and evidence,” according to Spitzer.
Steel’s campaign has not yet publicly responded to the reports of the investigation.
Track Your Ballot
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Sign-up at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov to receive an automatic email, SMS (text), or voice call notiﬁcations about your ballot.