Democrat Politician Protection Act Contains No Effort to Crack Down on Voter Fraud
‘…Democrats see a political advantage in eroding common-sense protections and would rather keep that advantage than make episodes like the North Carolina mess less likely to repeat in the future. An example of real, live voter fraud is staring the country in the face. And yet Democrats choose this moment to propose a sprawling federal takeover of election law that would erode the integrity of our elections even further. Now that, seems to send a clear signal about their priorities.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding House Democrats’ proposal to centralize electoral control in Washington, D.C. and to erode free speech:
“Anyone who’s been attentive to the news these past few days has learned about the complete debacle that unfolded in last November’s election for North Carolina’s ninth congressional district. Soon after Election Day, allegations of illegal ballot harvesting and vote tampering clouded a close result. The wrongdoing seemed to have benefitted the Republican candidate over the Democrat. Just last week we saw the State Board of Elections unanimously call for a new election.
“Now, for years and years, every Republican who dared to call for commonsense safeguards for Americans’ ballots was demonized by Democrats and their allies. We were hit with left-wing talking points insisting that voter fraud wasn’t real. That fraud just didn’t happen. That modest efforts to ensure that voters are who they say they are and are voting in the proper place were really some sinister right-wing plot.
“As you might expect, now that an incident of very real voter fraud has become national news and the Republican candidate seems to have benefitted, these long-standing Democrat talking points have quieted. Now, some are singing a different tune. Now there is new interest in ensuring the sanctity of American elections. I’ve been focused for decades on protecting the integrity of our elections. So I would like to welcome my friends on the left to their new realization that this subject really matters. But I have yet to see evidence they’re actually interested in cleaning up the conditions that lead to messes like this one.
“At the root of the North Carolina debacle is a practice that’s known as ‘ballot harvesting.’ Essentially, it’s a means by which campaign representatives can collect absentee ballots on the premise of delivering them to a polling place or election office. Think about it. Who in American politics keeps long lists of potential voters? Who mobilizes networks of people to go door to door? Who funds and stands up these kinds of canvassing organizations? I am sorry to say, there are not huge teams of politically neutral Eagle Scouts roving the country, hoping to use ballot harvesting to politely make voters’ lives more convenient.
“No -- the folks who really lick their lips at the prospect of mass ballot harvesting are political operatives. Political operatives, interest groups, and one-sided political machines. This is why many jurisdictions, including North Carolina, have outlawed this practice altogether. Ballot harvesting threatens to change the nature of our representative democracy. Forget about persuading people and spurring them to turn out to the polls.
“This practice makes elections a kind of scavenger hunt to see which side’s operatives can return to headquarters with the most ballots in the trunk of their car. And once those operatives take a hold of those ballots, the voters have no way to keep tabs on whether they were ever delivered. Of course a system that invites political operatives to be rewarded for turning up ballots will open the door to misbehavior. It’s illegal in North Carolina, and most states, for a reason.
“But I have noted with interest that Democrats’ new focus on this practice has yet to extend to California -- where it is a completely legal, common practice. California allows anyone – not just family members, anyone – to show up at a polling place or election office with ballots that are not theirs. Reports suggest that Orange County alone saw 250,000 absentee ballots dropped off in person on Election Day last year.
“The county’s registrar told a newspaper that some individuals dropped off hundreds – hundreds – of other people’s ballots. And we have no way to know if those ballots were sealed or even voted when they were harvested. The only evidence we have that the voter cast his or her ballot is the signature. Now, this past election cycle turned out favorably for California Democrats. These late-arriving ballots seemed to help turn several races their way.
“Maybe that helps explain why, when House GOP leaders expressed concern over ballot harvesting in California, the state’s Democrat Secretary of State mocked their concern by saying, quote, ‘what they call strange and bizarre, we call democracy.’ And now, ballot harvesting has thrown out an election result in the House of Representatives. Maybe that helps explain why, as it stands, the Democrat Politician Protection Act – Speaker Pelosi’s massive, new federal takeover of the way states and communities run their elections – contains no effort whatsoever to crack down on ballot harvesting.
“Instead, it contains provision after provision that would erode the protections that are supposed to ensure votes reflect the voice of the voter whose name is on the envelope. Provision after provision would erode common-sense protections and bring the guardrails down. Would a serious reform bill aim to take away states’ abilities to impose meaningful ID or signature requirements for voters? Would someone concerned about ‘restoring democracy’ dismiss signature verification as an obstacle to be removed? I don’t think so.
“Perhaps, these facts signal that Democrats see a political advantage in eroding common-sense protections and would rather keep that advantage than make episodes like the North Carolina mess less likely to repeat in the future. An example of real, live voter fraud is staring the country in the face. And yet Democrats choose this moment to propose a sprawling federal takeover of election law that would erode the integrity of our elections even further. Now that, seems to send a clear signal about their priorities.”
Related Issues: Campaigns & Elections, First Amendment