Philadelphia’s Mobile Mail-In Ballot System Just Another Name for Ballot Harvesting

October 5, 2020 Updated: October 7, 2020


To the mainstream media bubble in Washington, election fraud is a “myth” perpetuated by President Donald Trump and his conservative allies—but to Pennsylvania voters, it’s a distressing reality.

The Keystone State is currently embroiled in an all-out political and legal war over mail-in ballots, as progressive lawyers and lawmakers fight to keep their illegal ballot harvesting plans alive ahead of November.

In May, the Philadelphia City Commissioners implemented a “mobile mail-in ballot drop-off initiative” for the 2020 general primary and special election, giving the Committee of Seventy—an outside activist organization—access to voters’ ballots.

“Partnering with the Committee of Seventy, personnel from the Board of Elections will be on hand to collect voted mail-in ballots at the following times and locations,” the office of the Philadelphia City Commissioners wrote, listing numerous locations where “mail-in ballots” could be dropped off without having to be mailed in.

While it’s dressed up as a way of enhancing accessibility, there is a major problem with this initiative—by deputizing the Committee of Seventy as election officials, authorities are directly facilitating ballot harvesting, a practice expressly prohibited under state law.

In fact, the Pennsylvania statute (25 P.S., Section 3516) makes it clear that “any person other than an officer charged by law with the care of ballots, or a person entrusted by any such officer with the care of the same for a purpose required by law, who shall have in his possession outside the polling place any official ballot, or any person who shall make or have in his possession any counterfeit of an official ballot, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”

Lawmakers weren’t joking when they passed that law; penalties for violations can include a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to two years.

Notably, although the Committee of Seventy describes itself as a nonpartisan election watchdog, its ideological loyalties lie with the left—just days ago, the organization openly downplayed the importance of the FBI’s investigation into improperly opened mail-in ballots that had been cast for Trump.

“You have to be on the lookout for breakdowns in the system, but we have to be careful not to extrapolate from single-digit incidents to more systemic problems,” said David Thornburgh, the president of the group.

Actually, uncovering even a single “incident” of election fraud means there’s all the more reason to make sure that our elections aren’t going to be compromised by fraud on a much grander scale.

Regrettably, ballot harvesting is far from the only threat to the integrity of this election. I am the Director of The Amistad Project of The Thomas More Society and we are currently suing to prevent a once-obscure group called the Center for Tech and Civic Life from using hundreds of millions of dollars donated by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to boost turnout in overwhelmingly Democratic districts in Pennsylvania and other swing states.

We, and others, have investigated ActBlue—the leading digital fundraising platform of the progressive movement—and exposed the dangers of eliminating identity verification requirements from credit card donations to the organization. As it stands today, nothing prevents foreign actors and interest groups from using untraceable gift cards to make unlimited donations to ActBlue in an effort to circumvent campaign finance regulations.

Alas, litigation alone won’t be enough to safeguard our elections this year. In addition to challenging questionable election tactics in court, voters must pressure lawmakers to pass legislation that protects our democratic institutions from efforts to exploit uncertainty and ambiguity created by last-minute changes to election procedures.

The left is actively attempting to steal this pivotal presidential election—and what we are currently witnessing in Pennsylvania is only the beginning.

Phill Kline is a former Kansas attorney general. He currently serves as pulpit pastor of Amherst Baptist Church, a law school professor, and director of the Amistad Project of The Thomas More Society. Previously, he served as president of the Midwest Association of Attorneys General, was on the executive committee of the National Association of Attorneys General, and was co-chairperson of the Violent Sexual Predator Apprehension Task Force. He was a Kansas House member for eight years, where he chaired the Appropriations Committee and the Taxation Committee and authored victims’ rights laws and welfare reform.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.