In the News

California Dems Used ‘Ballot Harvesting’ to Beat Republicans in Midterms

Did Democrats beat Republicans fair and square in California by the practice of “ballot harvesting?” I believe they did and here’s why.

Ballot harvesting is essentially the act of filling out a mail-in ballot, handing it to a relative or any other person and directing that person to turn in the completed ballot to the elections center so that the vote can be counted.

While many would look at this practice as being ripe for fraud and they would certainly be justified in doing so, unless fraud or other crime can be proven then Democrats who won handily in California, essentially came out on top because they proactively used the provisions of the law to their favor while Republicans rested on their laurels.

AB1921 passed in 2016 with little fanfare and was signed into law by outgoing Democratic Gov. Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown.

The prior law allowed for only a relative or people living in the same household to drop off a mail-in ballot. The new law, however, allows for anyoneeven a paid political campaign worker, to collect (or harvest) and return the mail-in ballot.

While the law allows for the involvement of a third party, the law also prohibits the third-party from receiving any form of compensation based on the number of ballots that the person has returned and they are also prohibited from providing compensation.

There are penalties if the law is violated either by fraud, bribery, intimidation, or tampering with or failing to deliver the ballot in a timely fashion.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego who authored the bill said the change in the law was strictly a public service.

Gonzalez contends that the old rules concerning mail ballots were simply “yet another obstacle for individuals attempting to vote.”

While Republicans disagreed with Gonzalez, Democratic leadership passed the bill anyway.

As a result of Democrats taking full advantage of the law, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that 250,000 such ballots were used in Orange County alone, resulting in a Democratic sweep there.

Katie Merrill, a Democratic consultant says that Democrats beat Republicans in a “thorough and disciplined” ground game.

While I hate to admit it, I have to agree with her.

Republicans relied on in person voting and apparently forgot to consider the impact of what could happen if Democrats went door to door to collect ballots that in many instances, may never have been mailed in otherwise.

Had Republicans knocked on the doors of Republicans and Independents, perhaps there would have been a very different outcome.

In addition, since voters in California can register to vote on election day and vote the same day, were Democrats encouraging the homeless and others who may not typically vote, to register and fill out a mail ballot for the paid political campaign workers to return?

Did it even cross the minds of Republicans to proactively do the same thing? Apparently, not.

And while ‘compensation’ is not allowed to be given or received for returning the mail ballot, can you imagine a scenario in which a homeless person indirectly benefits by registering and giving their mail ballot to a paid political campaign worker with an “unrelated”  “donation” from the worker toward a meal for the homeless person?

Yeah, I’m sure that never happened. #sarcasm



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