Ballot harvesting is a voting related practice that allows paid political operatives to collect an unlimited number of ballots and subsequently deliver them into the hands of election officials.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, recently introduced legislation called The Election Fraud Prevention Act, which if passed would effectively slow down or even put a halt to ballot harvesting.
The legislation could potentially be in effect in time for November’s all-important 2020 presidential election.
When Rep. Gabbard made a run for the Oval Office during the Democratic presidential primaries, the public learned that she was a proud member of the Army National Guard, having served in two Middle East deployments. Currently, she is a major in the Army Reserves.
Rep. Gabbard’s proposed legislation, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-IL, would amend a 2002 act, and if passed would deny certain federal payments to states that permit ballot harvesting.
This type of reform could go a long way in helping to prevent a particularly heinous kind of corruption of the electoral process.
If ballot harvesting remains in place, or worse, if its use becomes widespread across the country, special interest groups that are aligned with a particular candidate or political party may be able to manipulate the results of legitimate elections.
As Rep. Gabbard noted in a statement, “While some states have prohibited vote harvesting, many states lack any regulations that would stop third-parties from fraudulently collecting and mishandling ballots as has occurred in recent elections.”
The bi-partisan bill, if passed, will incentivize states to prevent political parties or outside special interest groups from, in Rep. Gabbard’s words, “interfering with our sacred right to vote.”
The bill would still allow voters in need of assistance to obtain it from household members, relatives, and caregivers, as well as election officials and mail carriers who are acting in an official capacity.
Ballot harvesting is one-half of a voting scheme that Democrats have already used to effect election outcomes. Universal mail-in voting completes the insidious circle.
Both practices involve the use of unreliable and erroneous voter rolls, which are then used to send out ballots that can eventually be picked up by paid harvesters.
Data show serious problems with existing voter rolls. There are 24 million ineligible or inaccurate voter registrations on state voter rolls; this according to the Pew Research Center.
There is also the question of the reliability of the post office in its capacity to promptly, accurately, and effectively deliver the ballots. According to federal election data, during the six years between 2012 and 2018, more than 28 million mail-in ballots went missing.
Ballot harvesting lays out a virtual blueprint for voter fraud.
There is a built-in disregard for the time-honored secret ballot. There are multiple opportunities for ballots to be filled out under untoward influence, duress, and/or even coercion, all at the hands of unaccountable harvesters.
In the event voters happen to be of a different party than their assigned harvesters, it becomes easy for any number of ballots to be collected but never rightfully delivered.
Californians, of which I am one, can recount for all who are willing to listen the shocking scenario of the 2018 mid-term elections.
In 10 congressional races, Republican candidates were the clear election night winners. Then within days, or for some races weeks, the results of all 10 races were reversed, and the Democrat candidates were proclaimed to be the winners. This was the first time ballot harvesting was used in the Golden State, and its reverberations are still being felt.
Ballot harvesting used to be illegal everywhere. In a sign that there’s still hope for our cherished system, the state of Utah has made the practice a crime. And recently a federal judge upheld a Michigan law that disallowed ballot harvesting. A Democrat aligned super PAC, Priorities USA, had filed suit to preserve the corrosive practice.
However, things are different in Nevada, where a new ballot harvesting provision was recently passed along with a universal mail-in voting system.
Every state, including Nevada, had previously prohibited any non-family member from turning in another individual’s absentee or mail ballot. But The Silver State’s Democrat-controlled legislature used a night session and party-line vote to pass a measure that allows a ballot harvester to actually sign ballots on behalf of another.
Nevada’s new legislation also allows vote counting to continue for a period of up to three days after Election Day, giving paid harvesters additional time to go out on a ballot gathering spree.
Nevada’s Democrat Governor Steve Sisolak signed the misguided legislation into law.
Making himself look even worse, Gov. Sisolak summarily rejected a request by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske that would have required anyone who was collecting and turning in ballots for more than 10 voters to register and provide their contact information.
So go California and Nevada, so goes the nation?
Not if enough people make their voices heard and show support for the legislation that Rep. Gabbard has introduced.