Trivializing Elections California Style
The Golden State's blue wave was helped along by a practice known as ballot harvesting.
Two years ago in California, an act known as AB-1921, amending Section 3017 of the Elections Code, was signed in to law by Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown. It legalized a process known as “ballot harvesting.” Republicans weren’t prepared for the change. Thus, all seven of California’s House districts won by Hillary Clinton but held by the GOP going into the 2018 election were won by Democrats, including District 21, where Democrat T. J. Cox ultimately defeated Republican incumbent David Valadao in the last uncalled race in the nation.
Prior to the change, voters unable to return their vote by mail ballot could designate a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or person residing in the same household as the vote-by-mail voter to return it. The new law allows any third party — even a paid political campaign operative — to collect and return the ballots.
At the time, Democrats promoted the change as a public service, with the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), insisting the old requirements “simply provide yet another obstacle for individuals attempting to vote.” Republicans disagreed, but in a state dominated by Democrats, the legislation passed on a mostly party line vote.
In the process, “Election Day” became an anachronism. “A stunning five million ballots, or more than 40 percent of the overall total, were counted after Nov. 6,” the VC Star reported Dec. 2. In the former GOP stronghold of Orange County, “The number of Election Day vote-by-mail dropoffs was unprecedented — over 250,000,” GOP Party Chairman Fred Whitaker stated in a note to supporters.
Such extended counting produced stunning results. GOP candidate Young Kim, who enjoyed a 14-point lead in polling prior to the election, had an 8,000 vote lead over her Democrat opponent, Gil Cisneros, on election night and the following day. Her victory seemed so assured that she even attended orientation events for freshmen members of Congress. But as the ballots continued to pour in her lead shrank and ultimately evaporated.
California’s results captured the attention of outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), arguably the foremost example of the adage “addition by subtraction” in a party still besieged by far too many milquetoast members. “The way the absentee-ballot program used to work, and the way it works now — it seems pretty loosey goose,” Ryan stated. “When you have candidates who win the absentee ballot vote and then lose three weeks later because of provisionals, that’s really bizarre. I just think that’s a very, very strange outcome.”
Yet staying true to form, Ryan insisted he didn’t see “anything nefarious” regarding the election’s outcome, adding he would not ask California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate.
Even so, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was incensed by Ryans comments. “It shouldn’t ‘defy logic’ that elections officials are meticulous in counting every eligible ballot,” said the man who won’t cooperate with voter fraud investigations, allow independent inspection of election results, or open up voter rolls. “California works to ensure every ballot is counted properly and every ballot is accounted for. In the most populous state in the nation — and the state with the largest number of registered voters — this takes time. In California, we believe in an inclusive and accessible democracy. We provide voters as many opportunities as possible to cast their ballots.”
Opportunities ripe for fraud. The state’s Motor Voter law registers to vote virtually everyone who interacts with the DMV. In September, the LA Times revealed 23,000 people had been incorrectly registered. In October, the paper added another 1,500 people to the total, including illegal residents, minors, and ineligible felons.
California also has a Conditional Voter Registration process that allows one to vote and cast a ballot on the same day — a provisional ballot process that allows voting by people who show up at the incorrect polling location or have changed their minds about voting by mail. The latter is thanks to a law that allows counties to send every voter a mail-in ballot, whether they requested one or not, and one that permits ballots to be accepted up to a week after Election Day, provided they are postmarked by then. And just 50 days before the election, Gov. Brown signed Senate Bill 759, requiring elections officials to notify every voter whose ballot was rejected because of a mismatched signature.
Furthermore, thousands of felons have also been enfranchised courtesy of California’s radical criminal-justice agenda, whereby numerous crimes were downgraded from felonies to misdemeanors. The state also allows felons to vote while still on parole, and has precipitated early prison releases that enable it as well.
A videotape of Democrat vote harvester “Lulu” captured by a Santa Clarita family’s Ring camera is clarifying. “Yeah, we’re offering this new service, but only to, like, people who are supporting the Democratic party,” Lulu tells the resident. “It’s a service; I’m just trying to pick up your ballot and show you how to do it if you don’t know.” When the woman asks how she’ll know that everything will be handled properly, Lulu decides to leave. “That’s okay,” she says before going.
Okay for whom? A watchdog group called Counted As Cast sounded the alarm before AB1921 was passed, asserting it “would allow anybody to walk into an elections office and hand over truckloads of vote by mail envelopes with ballots inside, no questions asked, no verified records kept. It amounts to an open invitation to large-scale vote buying, voter coercion, ‘granny farming’, and automated forgery. AB 1921 solves no problem that a simple stamp can’t solve.”
Columnist Scott Morefield envisions other possibilities for rampant abuse, noting that “Lulus” working for the Democrat Party could go to a house with a MAGA flag planted in the yard, pretend to be a GOP ballot harvester, take the voter’s ballot and toss it in the trash. “Could she then go to someone’s home who had no intention of voting, then ‘convince’ them to vote Democrat and give their ballot to her or else their next social security check won’t be coming? Again, yes she could,” he adds. “Or maybe a union boss asks the folks under his charge to become permanent ‘vote-by-mail’ voters so, you know, he can keep them ‘informed’ on the issues. Or maybe a partisan nursing home administrator ‘helpfully’ collects the ballots of her residents only to shred those from all the guys wearing the Vietnam Veteran hats.”
Columnist Monica Showalter asserts that ballot harvesting puts “non-committed voters, or voters with no opinions, or low-information voters” on a par with committed and informed voters. She explains, “Now there’s no commitment needed, no effort — just that paper ballot sitting on the kitchen table and that helpful Democratic ‘service’ come to selectively harvest it for Democrats, leaving those Republican-registered ballots still there on the table.”
Republicans can fight back, but it’s beside the point. Election Day has become election month, and California isn’t the only state that has elevated convenience to the point of absurdity. It’s time Americans realized that nothing better accrues to the interests of a ruling class with visions of permanent power than trivializing one of the foremost responsibilities of good citizenship.
Ballot harvesting is the essence of such trivialization.