Ballot harvesting

Fundamental transformation of the American democratic process

■ Election Integrity Project California / Contributed

The term “ballot harvesting” may now be the most talked-about topic in the world of elections. Perhaps it is time for some clarification.
There are two types of ballot harvesting. One, though at the very least despicable and unethical, is now nevertheless legal in California: anyone, provided that payment is not provided on a per-ballot basis, can lawfully take possession of and submit anyone else’s vote-by-mail (VBM) ballot, regardless of relationship or lack thereof.
This type of ballot harvesting allows for unimpeded coercion of vulnerable people, such as college students, union members, people in assisted living and other facilities, those who are naïve and gullible, non-citizens, etc. It also allows for rounding up influenced votes of the disengaged and low informed individuals, even through deception and strong-arm tactics. It allows for ballot collectors to go door to door visiting registered voters whose ballots have not been received and offer to submit their voted ballot for them.
It should be clear why any type of ballot harvesting is illegal across the country, and considered a felony in some. The practice threatens the most basic and underlying foundation of American principles, the belief in self determination. All American citizens have the right to vote, or to choose, for sincerely-held or even irresponsible reasons, not to participate in the electoral process. Legalization of ballot harvesting opens the door for the most vulnerable among us to lose that sacred right of choice.
In November of 2018, concerted and organized efforts not only to make maximum use of the provisions of the ballot harvesting law but to stretch and pervert its superficial intent were many. Observer and whistle-blower evidence shows that under cover of the legal permissions listed above, individuals and groups translated this law into action in still illegal ways, offering to assist voters in filling out their ballot before taking it, or providing people with a fresh, already filled-out ballot they simply had to seal and sign.
Observers and citizens report that voters who had purposely elected not to participate were urged, pushed, shamed, cajoled, badgered, threatened and even paid to hand over their ballots. Professors made voting mandatory for their students on pain of lowered grades or loss of class credit, and helpless and defenseless residents of senior and other care facilities were captive audiences to not-so-ethical ballot harvesters.
This law paves the way for all of the above unscrupulous behavior and more, and in the opinion of many, those who wrote or supported this law intended for bad operators to walk through it. People who find this type of voter intimidation acceptable subscribe to a “the ends justify the means” philosophy. They proudly take credit for capitalizing on the opportunity while scorning the short-sightedness of those who did not.
That aside, to lay all of California’s woes at the feet of the now legalized ballot harvesting is to negate all of the evidence the Election Integrity Project California (EIPCa) volunteers have collected for eight years. The second type of ballot harvesting, the type that is still illegal, has been around for a long time and documentation from this most recent election suggests that it is more widespread than ever.
In every election since 2012, the numbers of two categories of potentially disenfranchised voters have increased exponentially, and in this election the increase appears to have exploded.
Both categories of voters suffered the same disturbing circumstance: they did not receive the mail-in ballot they were slated to receive, and were offered a provisional ballot in an effort to assuage their concern. Remember what Stalin said: “It is enough that the people know that there was an election.” They hope that “you can fool all of the people all of the time.”
Some of the potentially disenfranchised were inveterate, in-person voters whose registration was changed without their permission and knowledge, and without notification. They did not know to expect a ballot and were blindsided at the polls with the news. The others had chosen to vote by mail, but nevertheless were forced to vote provisionally along with the others.
The burning question that should arise in every mind is: Where did those ballots that didn’t arrive go? They were mailed, and someone got them. Who? And did that “who” vote them? And were they counted? Is this the result of a scheme to defraud voters of their rightful ballots and use them to skew elections? The answers are just a few weeks of research away. And EIPCa intends to do it.
A series of audits may be in the offing. EIPCa alerts all concerned citizens to be ready to assist as needed. We the people do NOT deserve to suffer another election such as the one we have just endured. It is up to us all to be sure we do not.

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