Rep. Calvert Expresses Concern Over Attempts by California Election Officials to Limit the Rights of Churches and Republicans

October 12, 2020
Press Release

Today, Representative Ken Calvert (CA-42) issued the following statement in response to efforts by the California election officials to prevent churches and Republicans from collecting ballots under California’s third-party ballot collection laws:

“Last year, I raised a number of issues with the third-party ballot collection laws in California passed by Democrats. It’s telling that the media and Democrats are suddenly interested in the issue now that churches and Republicans have chosen to facilitate the delivery of ballots under those ballot collection laws.

Are we really supposed to believe it’s fine for paid Democrat operatives to collect ballots from strangers and throw them in a bag, but churches aren’t allowed to collect them for members of their congregation and put them in a box?


Attempts by either the Secretary of State or county election officials to stop churches from collecting ballots under California's third-party ballot collection laws are an act of voter suppression and possibly a civil rights violation.

I recommend anyone who submits their ballot via a third-party ballot collection method, just like anyone who submits their ballot via any other vote-by-mail method, to track their ballot by utilizing the “Where’s My Ballot” ballot tracker at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov.”

 

Background:

In 2019, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) received a response to his March 4, 2019 letter to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters regarding ballot harvesting. 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.