It is perfectly legal in the State of California for Democrats to send campaign workers and volunteers door-to-door to collect absentee ballots and bring them to the clerk’s office to be counted. Democrats have made an art form of ballot harvesting and credit their efforts with flipping 4 House seats in Orange County.
The individual harvesting the ballots doesn’t have to identify himself or sign his name on each ballot. Some workers have handed in hundreds of absentee ballots they collected. Republicans were at a distinct disadvantage.
But then the California GOP started their own ballot harvesting efforts. They put absentee ballot drop boxes at gun ranges, churches, and GOP offices.
This was not what the Democrats had in mind at all. They only want to make it easier for Democrats to vote. So the Democratic secretary of state and the Democratic attorney general sent cease-and-desist letters to several local GOP chairmen telling them to stop because the drop boxes weren’t “official.”
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Republicans gleefully told the Democratic officials to go hang.
“We believe that temporarily holding [vote by mail] ballots in a locked box at a church or local Party headquarters is more secure than a Party volunteer or paid operative holding harvested ballots collected from voters at a senior center in the back seat of his or her car–though both are legal,” GOP leaders wrote.
They’re right. The GOP’s ballot depositories don’t threaten election security any more than Democrats’ door-to-door operations. Both entail voters entrusting their ballots to third parties. Why are Democratic and union canvassers more trustworthy than churches and gun shops? The GOP drop boxes also present less of a public-health risk.
Democrats can’t complain that the boxes aren’t “secure” (as if they care about how “secure” their own drop boxes are). The GOP boxes are locked and supervised just like “official” drop boxes. What’s really happening is a big dose of hypocrisy.
Republicans noted that Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda, who faces a tough re-election fight, has encouraged supporters to establish “neighborhood hubs” outside their homes to collect ballots. This didn’t stop Mr. Rouda from demanding an investigation into the GOP drop boxes and implying that Republicans may be discarding Democratic votes.
Meantime, Democrats are as usual accusing Republicans of voter suppression. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2022 re-election campaign blasted out a message declaring “the GOP is terrified of losing–so they’re willing to lie, cheat, and threaten our democracy all for the sake of gaining power.” When Democrats harvest ballots, they are increasing voter access. When Republicans do it, it’s cheating. Glad we cleared that up.
Ballot harvesting seems like a good idea on the surface but there are six ways from Sunday to commit fraud. There has to be a balance between ballot security and ease of access so that everyone who wants to can vote safely and securely. Democrats don’t want balance and don’t believe that fraud is a problem. Using ballot harvesting, it wouldn’t take much organization or intelligence to alter the outcome of an election by committing fraud.