Here’s What California’s Ballot Harvesting Law Allows, What It Doesn’t, and Suggested Reforms
As has been covered multiple times this week, there’s been a slight bit of controversy about what California’s “ballot harvesting” law allows and what it doesn’t allow. The disingenuous and mostly untrue comments from Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and Governor Gavin Newsom (all Democrats) have only served to stoke partisan fires in the state and make the fact that each party is expected to play by different rules all the clearer.
The California Republican Party stood up to the Democrats’ shenanigans, unflinchingly, for the first time in nearly two decades. From the time Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in in 2003 until the present time, establishment Republicans in the state have bowed down to the Democrats, attempting to become a less radical version of the increasingly insane progressive Democrat party. Under Schwarzenegger’s watch the share of elective positions in the state held by Republicans decreased dramatically, partly due to the to-two primary championed by State Sen. Abel Maldonado – whom Schwarzenegger appointed as his Lieutenant Governor. It’s no wonder Schwarzenegger had this to say about the CAGOP’s private ballot drop box program:
“It’s a stupid thing that they’re doing right now with those ballot boxes. I think it’s just Mickey Mouse stuff that, you know, has serious kind of effects. And I think that what they should do, really, is offer people hope and make everyone participate and make everyone be able to vote and those kind of things rather than make those fake ballot boxes.”
Schwarzenegger shows a total misunderstanding of the law, and zero ability to think strategically.
First of all, by placing ballot collection boxes at places where conservatives will still go even during a pandemic – churches and gun shops – the party is giving people the ability to vote.
Second, because of revisions to election law made in 2016 and 2018, these ballot boxes aren’t prohibited by law, and the way in which the CAGOP is operating them falls within the requirements of the revised law. And by pointing out how ridiculous the current law is, perhaps the CAGOP is forcing Democrats to go back and change the law.
In 2016 Assembly Bill 1921 changed regulations regarding how a vote-by-mail ballot could be returned. Prior to its passage, a voter could only designate:
“[H]is or her spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or person residing in the same household as the vote by mail voter to return the vote by mail ballot.”
That designated person could then put the ballot in a mailbox, deliver it to an official ballot drop box location, or take it to the polls on Election Day. All ballots had to be received by the time the polls closed on Election Day.