Yesterday was an emotional hearing of the North Carolina election board that generated a fair result, a new election for North Carolina’s ninth Congressional District as a result of ballot harvesting. “Ballot harvesting” is a practice in which paid or organized political operatives collect absentee ballots from voters to whom they have no familial connection and drop them off at a polling place or election office. As happened in North Carolina, critics complain that such actions leave open opportunities for tampering and taking advantage of society’s most vulnerable and those who have no interest in voting.
The evils of ballot harvesting were laid on the table and made clear to all. As North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes said:
We will continue to work with legislators and investigators on how we can improve the electoral system so that these kinds of situations can be avoided in the future. The people of North Carolina deserve nothing less than the full confidence and trust in the electoral system. We'd like to thank the hard-working staff and members of the North Carolina State Board of Elections for their professionalism and dedication in this investigation.
While the right thing was done in North Carolina, the bigger question is will Democrats do the correct thing next week and make a statement against ballot harvesting. Ballot harvesting is legal in the Democrat stronghold of California, and its strategic use by Democrat operatives in the 2018 election resulted in Democrat wins in several close races.
HR 1, US House Democrats’ election reform proposal to federalize elections, curiously does not contain any prohibition on or regulation of ballot harvesting in its 571 pages. It will be marked up next week. If the Democrats are so intent on increasing federal regulation of elections, a bipartisan amendment opposing “ballot harvesting” nationwide would be a great step towards all sides acknowledging the potential for exploitation of voters with ballot harvesting.