Close to 72,000 ballots have been received in Fresno County, significantly higher than this time in 2016

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Just 19 days before election day, close to 72,000 ballots have been received in Fresno County, according to Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth.

Of the 71,792 ballots that have been cast as of Thursday morning — 44,424 have been through mail and 27,368 have been through drop boxes.

“The numbers that we are seeing right now far exceed 2016 and 2018 at this point in time,” Orth said. “So I think people are feeling good about the post office. But they’re also utilizing the official drop boxes that are throughout the county also.”

In 2016, 19 days before election day, 24,279 ballots had been received by mail. There weren’t drop boxes then.

The ballots that have been counted now compared to 19 days before election in 2016 is four times higher.

“The earlier you vote, your vote will be shown at 8:05 p.m (on election night) when I push out the first results,” Orth said.

Election officials are now picking up ballots from drop boxes every day.

“Because of the situation with the unauthorized drop boxes, I just wanted voters to feel confident and so we changed to a daily pick up now,” she said.

On Monday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and State Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a cease and desist order to the California Republican Party after they discovered unofficial drop boxes in several counties, including Fresno County.

California Communications Director Hector Barajas said they’re not doing anything wrong.

But Padilla said the unauthorized drop boxes “violate state law and jeopardize the security of voters’ ballots.'”

For now, Fresno County GOP Chairman Fred Vanderhoof said those unofficial drop boxes have been removed in Fresno County.

Orth said she collected a little under 100 ballots from him.

“He advised that all of the 12 boxes in Fresno County were closed and he returned the ballots that he had in his possession at that time,” Orth said.

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