California has a new law, passed at the end of 2017, that allows any person to turn in a completed ballot on behalf of any other person, which has led to process dubbed “ballot harvesting.”
At the end of Election Day, three Congressional seats in Orange County, California alone were projected were won by Republicans, only to flip to Democrats days after, when absentee ballots were counted.
In California’s 39th Congressional District, Democrat Gil Cisneros beat incumbent Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.) by less than one percentage point when all was said and done. In California’s 45th Congressional District, Democrat Katie Porter ousted incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Cailf.) in similar fashion. The same happened in California’s 48th Congressional District, where Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) was beaten by Democrat Harley Rouda.
AB 1921, which changed the rules to allow anyone – not just a family member – to deliver a filled-in ballot on behalf of another person, is a likely explanation for how so many absentee ballots showed up in the wake of Election Day. The bill reads:
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Existing law requires that the vote by mail ballot be available to any registered voter. Under existing law, a voter who is unable to return his or her vote by mail ballot may designate his or her spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or person residing in the same household as the vote by mail voter to return the vote by mail ballot. Except in the case of a candidate or the spouse of a candidate, existing law prohibits the return of a voter’s vote by mail ballot by one of those designees who is also a paid or volunteer worker of a general purpose committee, controlled committee, or any other group or organization at whose behest the individual designated to return the ballot is performing a service.
This bill would remove those restrictions and instead authorize the designation of any person to return a vote by mail ballot.
And Democrats took full advantage of the rule. One ballot harvester even called it a Democratic party operation.
“Yeah, we’re offering this new service, but only for like people who are supporting the Democratic party,” said a young woman caught on home surveillance video. “It’s a service. I’m just trying to pick up your ballot.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 250,000 such ballots were harvested and returned in Orange County alone.
The new law is disturbing for the integrity of American elections. Boxes of ballots could literally be dropped off and counted without regard for whether they were legitimate. Not to mention, according to a U.S. Senate candidate from California, the state did away with hand-counting of absentee and provisional ballots. We reported:
Big League Politics spoke with a U.S. Senate Candidate from California this week who explained that the laws surrounding mail-in ballots in the state have been changed to make the counting process much less rigorous.
James Bradley told Big League Politics that the state has passed a law allowing for mail-in and provisional ballots to be machine counted. Previously, the signatures on such ballots had to be individually verified in order for the ballots to be counted. Since the safeguard of signature verification was nullified, Democratic mail-ins and provisionals have vastly increased, according to Bradley.
In total, six Congressional seats in California were flipped from red to blue after original tallies had them in the bag for Republicans during the midterm elections.