Most people had never heard of vote harvesting until some voting irregularities surfaced in the 2018 election. In North Carolina, a congressional election was overturned due to charges of illegal vote harvesting. In California, some unexpected losses by Republicans, especially in Orange County, were also attributed to the same issue.
Vote harvesting occurs when a third party (like a campaign worker) collects absentee ballots from voters and delivers them to election officials. Hans von Spakovsky has served on the Federal Election Commission and is concerned about the potential for abuse.
He warns that: “Allowing individuals other than the voter or his immediate family to handle absentee ballots is a recipe for mischief and wrongdoing.” Think about this. Neither the voter on the one hand nor the election officials on the other hand “can verify that the secrecy of the ballot has not be compromised.”
How do we know if the ballot that was submitted accurately reflects the wishes of the voter? How can we be sure that the vote harvester didn’t fraudulently change the ballot? For that matter, how do we know that the vote harvester didn’t toss out a ballot from a voter whose political preferences were for the opposition party?
Another reasonable concern is about voter influence or intimidation. When a voter is filling out a ballot in front of a vote harvester there certainly is potential for influence. In fact, “there is no one present to ensure that voters are not being coerced, intimidated, threatened, or paid for their vote.”
Lest you think these concerns are unwarranted, all you need to do is look at the election fraud database put together by the Heritage Foundation. It includes convictions of political officials in a number of states who were coercing absentee voters.
Vote harvesting is a threat to the integrity of our elections.