Rep. Calvert Exposes Serious Ballot Harvesting Liabilities

March 14, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) has received a response to his March 4th letter to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters regarding ballot harvesting. The response exposes serious ballot harvesting liabilities that could jeopardize the integrity of our elections.

“My worst fears about the dangers of ballot harvesting have been confirmed,” said Rep. Calvert. “California Democrats have rolled out a welcome mat to bad actors, like the Russians, to come to our state and wreak havoc on our elections. The question of voter fraud stemming from ballot harvesting in California is a matter of when – not if. Democrats in Sacramento have made it legal for foreign nationals and illegal immigrants to collect an unlimited number of ballots with absolutely no transparency requirements. Democrats have removed basic safeguards in place to protect the integrity of our elections just to give themselves a political advantage.”

The letter from the Riverside County Registrar of Voters confirmed:

A vote by mail ballot collected by a ballot harvester does NOT have to include the name or signature of the harvester on the identification envelope in order to be valid.*

A ballot harvester is NOT required to document the vote by mail ballots chain of custody in any way.

A ballot harvester is NOT required to disclose to a voter who they are working on behalf of or if they are being paid to collect ballots.

A ballot harvester is NOT required to provide any kind of documentation/receipt when collecting a vote by mail ballot.

Election officials are NOT required to obtain any identifying information, including names, of ballot harvesters when they return collected ballots.

Election officials are NOT required to maintain a list of persons who collect and submit collected ballots, regardless of how many ballots they submit.

ANY individual is eligible to harvest ballots, including:

  • Non-California residents
  • Illegal immigrants
  • Foreign nationals

ANY entity may have and compensate its employees to harvest ballots (so long as the compensation is not on a per ballot basis), including:

  • Campaigns
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Businesses, including corporations
  • Labor unions
  • Churches

Ballot harvesters may collect an unlimited number of ballots.

Campaigns may pay third party vendors to harvest ballots (so long as the compensation is not on a per ballot basis).

Election officials are not required to categorize harvested ballots or otherwise distinguish them from vote by mail ballots submitted by other means.

Background:

California has legalized the practice known as ballot harvesting, a practice where third parties may collect the vote by ballots of any individual and return them to election officials. Specifically, the law changed Section 3017 of the Election Code and allows any person to collect a vote by mail ballot from an eligible voter and turn in the ballot to a polling place or a registrar of voter’s office. The only restriction written into the law was a prohibition on compensating an individual based on the number ballots that person returns.

  

* California Election Code 3011(c) states “ballots shall not be disqualified solely because the person authorized to return it did not provide on the identification envelope his or her name, relationship to the voter, or signature.