Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s new stimulus bill would mandate nationwide “ballot harvesting,” allowing party operatives to return other people’s ballots to polling places without “any limit” on the number of ballots.
“Ballot harvesting” was legalized in California in 2016, and first used in the 2018 midterm elections. It allows anyone to drop off someone else’s mail-in ballot at a polling station. There is no process for vetting or verifying those delivering the ballots — no background checks or identification requirements. Democrats dropped hundreds of thousands of ballots off at polling stations in 2018, helping Democrats as they flipped seven Republican seats.
The practice is illegal in most other states, largely because it is susceptible to fraud and intimidation. Republicans were caught flat-footed in 2018; they experimented with the tactic in recent special elections, only to find that their voters adamantly refuse to give their ballots to strangers. Democrats are more open to the practice — often because the “harvester” previously registered the voter, according to Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel.
California’s “ballot harvesting” law has yet to be challenged in court. It is one reason that California remains a one-party state, with little prospect for change in the foreseeable future.
Pelosi wants to take that system nationwide.
Her bill, released Monday afternoon, provides that every state:
A) shall permit a voter to designate any person to return a voted and sealed absentee ballot to the post office, a ballot drop-off location, tribally designated building, or election office so long as the person designated to return the ballot does not receive any form of compensation based on the number of ballots that the person has returned and no individual, group, or organization provides compensation on this basis; and (B) may not put any limit on how many voted and sealed absentee ballots any designated person can return to the post office, a ballot drop off location, tribally designated building, or election office.
In other words, paid party operatives can literally truck thousands and thousands of ballots to the polls, provided they earn a salary or fee, and are not paid by the ballot.
It is a practice that is known in Third World countries as “ballot stuffing,” and is outlawed in every democracy, no matter how poor — even in countries where the physical and administrative obstacles to voting are far greater than in the world’s most developed economy.
And it is Pelosi’s condition for saving the U.S. economy from coronavirus.