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California Republicans Mimic Democrats on Ballot Harvesting

Created: 30 October, 2019
Updated: 15 August, 2022
2 min read

Michael Smolens, writing for the San Diego Union-Tribune, reports that Republicans are planning to copy the California Democratic Party's strategy of ballot harvesting in the 2020 presidential primary.

Ballot harvesting is the process by which party or campaign volunteers / workers collect absentee and mail-in ballots from voters, and is categorized as a form of voter fraud by Ballotpedia. But here's the thing... it is perfectly legal in California, and now both parties are coming for voters' ballots.

Read More: What Is Ballot Harvesting?

Here are some important things to know:

  • The California Legislature passed AB 1921 ahead of the 2018 midterms, which changed California law to allow anyone to collect ballots. Before the bill's passage, only relatives were allowed to turn in a ballot on behalf of a voter.
  • Vote results were delayed in several counties as large numbers of ballots came in last minute, swinging 7 congressional districts from Republican to Democrat.
  • Some Republicans raised accusations that the ballot collection was done fraudulently, going so far as to say collectors filled out and signed ballots for voters.
  • Ballot harvesting also made news in 2016 as GOP political operatives in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District illegally collected ballots from voters, including submitting some ballots that were fraudulently filled out and signed. Ballot harvesting is illegal in North Carolina, and in 17 other states.

While some Republicans cried foul after the 2018 midterms, they also admired the Democrats for their efforts. Current chairwoman of the California Republican Party, Jessica Millan Patterson, even said Republicans "need to do better." Their attitude is clearly, "if you can't beat them, join them."

Independent Voter Project Co-Founder Steve Peace weighed in on the subject, cautioning voters.

“It’s naive to believe ballot harvesting won’t result in massive fraud,” he says in the UT San Diego article.

What do you think about the practice of ballot harvesting? Should it be illegal everywhere?