The California Republican Party has asked the state to suspend ballot harvesting for two special elections set for May 12, claiming strangers going door-to-door during the COVID-19 pandemic could spread the disease.
State law allows people, commonly called ballot harvesters, to personally pick up mail-in ballots from voters who are unable to return the ballots themselves, and take them to drop-off locations.
“As we work collectively to flatten the curve, providing every voter the option to vote at home, while maintaining social distance, is a no-brainer,” Padilla added.
“It is true that in-person voting presents risks to public health and safety in light of COVID-19,” the letter states. “It is also true that other activities in connection with voting present the same risk (or even higher) that must be mitigated during this historic event.”
Patterson urged Newsom to “make it clear that the existing Stay-at-Home Order prohibits collection of ballots by persons who do not live in the same household as the voter.”
“At this time, this activity is a threat to the health and well-being of Californians because it violates social distancing measures and causes the exchange of a physical item that has been in a person’s household and likely contains saliva which is known to spread COVID-19,” she added.
With vote-by-mail ballots already arriving in mailboxes, Patterson’s letter requests that Newsom clarify the application of the stay-at-home order “to discourage dangerous face-to-face interactions and collection of ballots and envelopes that undermine efforts to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19.”
- The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
- The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
- The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;
- The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
- The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
- The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.
Newsom had not yet responded to the letter, according to the California GOP.