When California officials opened the polls for voting earlier this year in the March 3 primary elections, a large bin was seen outside the office of the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office.
The bin was “a deposit location for vote-by-mail ballots, with no election officials or registrar staff present to supervise” those who were dumping ballots there, according to a report—“Political Weaponization of Ballot-Harvesting in California”—made public May 14 by Republicans on the House Administration Committee.
Unidentified “individuals dropped off hundreds of ballots at a time,” the report said, citing the San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets.
The bin was part of a process called “ballot harvesting,” in which political operatives are allowed to collect ballots from voters at their homes, then deposit the marked ballots at an official drop-off point for counting.
Such scenes have become commonplace in the Golden State since 2016 when then-Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed into law a number of measures meant, according to advocates, to enable more people to vote.
Two years later, the full effect of those measures became clear when Republicans, including five House incumbents, who appeared to have won seven California congressional seats on Election Day, lost when thousands of late-counted, harvested ballots changed the outcome to Democratic victories.
Since then, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her Democratic majority in the lower chamber of Congress have repeatedly tried but have failed to mandate the California measures for the entire nation.
“The thrust of our report is to raise the question why have the Democrats, since Day One when they took over the House majority, pushed to nationalize the process we’ve seen corrupted by political operatives already,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) told The Epoch Times on May 14.
Davis is the ranking GOP member of the congressional committee that investigates election irregularities. The report was based in part on observations by committee aides dispatched to California by the panel in 2018.
Corrupt election practices weren’t limited to California Democrats in 2018, according to the report, because “shortly after election day, allegations of fraud connected with ballot harvesting surfaced in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
“It was here that Republican political operatives, through the ballot harvesting process, committed fraud on an unprecedented scale, nearly undetected,” the report said.
The report also noted that in 2019, House Democrats unanimously opposed a GOP motion to require public disclosure of foreign nationals involved in ballot harvesting.
Had the motion passed, it would have assisted law enforcement “targeting of foreign adversaries who seek to interfere in our elections,” according to the report.
Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) have scheduled a May 15 vote on their proposed $3 trillion CCP virus relief bill, which also includes provisions mandating states to mail ballots to every resident in advance of the 2020 presidential and congressional elections and to allow ballot harvesting, as happened in California and North Carolina.
The election mandates in the relief bill “are nothing new, they are just using different justifications for them,” Davis said.
He told The Epoch Times that “it is amazing to me that in an emergency, with a straight face, congressional Democrats can say ‘we want every single person who is registered right now in America’ to receive not just a form to request a ballot, but to have the actual ballot mailed to their house.
“They’re saying the only way to protect Americans during a pandemic is by doing vote-by-mail. They want to institutionalize a process that brings somebody to your front door to ask you why you have not yet turned in a ballot that was automatically mailed to your house.”
The same mandates also bar state officials from removing any registered voters from the rolls, Davis added. Nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch has won numerous court decisions in recent years forcing state officials to remove registered voters who have moved to other states or died.
The most recent such Judicial Watch suit would force Pennsylvania officials to address allegations that there are more than 800,000 such voters on the state’s registration rolls.
Democrats rejected the GOP report’s claims, with Spencer Critchley, a California-based campaign strategist, telling The Epoch Times, “This phony ballot harvesting story is just the latest move in the GOP’s relentless campaign of voter suppression.”
Critchley said the North Carolina scandal that was included in the report “to create the illusion that they really care about fair elections is also the only one for which there is actual evidence, and there’s a lot of evidence, because it was terrible.”
But Republican strategist Brian Darling said nationalized mail-in voting will encourage “the campaigns of both parties [to] concentrate resources on ballot harvesting and loading up the ballot box with mailed-in votes.”
That, in turn, he said, will mean “campaign funds will pay per-mail-in ballot and there will exist a perverse incentive for fraud. In-person voting has worked since the founding of our nation. Changing our system over to one that encourages mail-in ballots would take away from that tradition.”
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc.