Committee Republicans' Expose Political Weaponization of Ballot Harvesting in California

May 14, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Committee on House Administration Republicans released a report that examines the use of ballot harvesting – when any individual can pick up any voter’s ballot for any reason and deliver it to the polling location completely unchecked – in the 2018 midterm congressional elections. Specifically, the report analyzes two states: North Carolina, which overturned an election because of the fraud associated with ballot harvesting, and California, which maximized and politically weaponized ballot harvesting in 2018 and still does today. The report highlights the fraud and abuse associated with ballot harvesting that House Democrats are currently trying to nationalize in their political "wish list" coronavirus relief package, the HEROES Act.  
Click here to view the report. 
Click here for a document summarizing the report. 

Committee Republicans:

"Since my time as Ranking Member of the House Administration Committee, I have directed our Democratic majority to investigate ballot harvesting, which we saw overturn an election when illegally misused by political operatives North Carolina and resulted in the loss of seven Republican candidates in California in the weeks after election day. It is my hope that this report will result in decisive action from Congress and warn states of this dangerous election practice," said Rep. Davis. "How much longer will House Democrats continue to ignore the threat to our election security that is ballot harvesting?"

"The right of individuals to cast a secret ballot and the integrity of our elections are principles that go hand-in-hand. Under our form of government, a representative republic, citizens are given both a right and a responsibility to cast a ballot for the person they want to represent them in their government. Our system guarantees that each voter’s vote remains secret, the integrity of the ballot is protected, and that every eligible vote will be counted; however, ballot harvesting undermines these core principles," said Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA). "Allowing party activists to collect ballots from individuals and deliver them, in bulk, to voting precincts swings open wide the door for potential fraud and election meddling. I look forward to working with my friend and colleague, Ranking Member Rodney Davis, and the Committee in further highlighting these corrupt practices. Free and open elections are important, and we must have proper safeguards in place to ensure everyone’s vote is counted and everyone’s voice is heard.”

House Minority Leadership: 

"Democrats have said they see coronavirus as an 'opportunity' to take more control away from the American people, and their desire to change election law through ballot harvesting is a dangerous example of that," said Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). "The Democrats' scheme has nothing to do with defeating the virus, and as the House Administration Republicans' report shows, ballot harvesting invites fraud and abuse within our electoral process. An individual’s vote gives them a voice in their own government - it is our responsibility to safeguard this sacred right against potential corruption."
Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said, “Ballot harvesting is illegal in many states for good reason — it has a long history of fraud and misuse. Ranking Member Davis and House Administration Republicans have done excellent work uncovering and protesting the rampant abuse of this tactic in California. Now, Speaker Pelosi wants to make ballot harvesting standard practice nationwide which, like so much in this new bill, would be a win for far-left Democrats and a loss for democracy. Rather than using a global pandemic to push shady election policies, Democrats should focus on the health and well-being of our citizens and our electoral processes.”

“Ballot harvesting undermines the integrity of our elections. As this report shows, ballot harvesting allows for fraud and abuse that threaten the sanctity of our election process.  I commend Ranking Member Davis and the Republicans on the House Administration Committee for their work exposing the damage of ballot harvesting. We should all come together to safeguard our elections and end this fraudulent scheme," said House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY).

Quotes from GOP California Members of Congress: 
“Ballot harvesting is ground zero for attempts at voter coercion and fraud, and it undermines the democratic process. Instead of empowering paid political operatives, we should safeguard ballot integrity and the voice of the voters by outlawing this practice," said Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA).

"This report sheds light on the unprecedented number of ballots harvested in California during the 2018 election. States have the right to run their own elections, but this level of ballot harvesting should be alarming to every voter. It is the role of Congress to set standards for federal elections and it must investigate this practice for potential voter fraud immediately," said Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)"To avoid fraud and abuse in November, the practice of ballot harvesting should be banned. The integrity of our electoral process should never be sacrificed for political gain.”

"The legalization of ballot harvesting is an open invitation to voter fraud. As I have confirmed with election officials in California and is highlighted throughout this report, Democrats in my home state have authorized a ballot harvesting scheme with no safeguards, transparency, or voter protections. By allowing paid campaign operatives and individuals who aren’t even eligible to vote to anonymously collect and handle an unlimited number of ballots, Democrats in California have effectively erased any notion of ballot security in our elections," said Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA). "After designing a system with no transparency and chain of custody requirements, California Democrats have effectively covered their tracks and concealed evidence that could demonstrate fraud and abuse. I want to thank Ranking Member Rodney Davis and the House Administration Committee’s Republican staff for its work on this important issue and shining a spotlight on this growing threat to the faith American’s have in our democratic elections.”

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said, “Democracies die when one party seizes control of the election process and eliminates the safeguards that protect the integrity of the ballot.  Ballot harvesting undermines free and fair elections by incentivizing coercion and fraud among dedicated political activists.  While some seek to nationalize this dangerous practice, this report highlights how damaging ballot harvesting has been in California and the need for Congress to protect our elections against fraud and abuse.”

The Committee on House Administration and its Subcommittee on Elections are responsible for all matters related to election law and are charged with investigating election irregularities. The Committee Republicans have worked over the last 18 months to bring awareness to potentially the greatest threat to ballot integrity in this country: ballot harvesting. Our goal remains to prevent this practice, which jeopardizes the integrity of our electoral process and disenfranchises voters.

Visit the Committee on House Administration Republicans Website for more information


116th Congress