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Walker, House Administration Republicans Attempt to Ban Ballot Harvesting in H.R. 1

March 7, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today issued the following statement as H.R. 1, the For the People Act, continues to advance in the U.S. House of Representatives, with a final vote on passage expected tomorrow:

"For years, conservatives who questioned ballot harvesting – a practice where unvetted organizers can go door-to-door, collecting absentee ballots like Halloween candy – were criticized and demeaned. Now, as we see election fraud in my home state and House Democrats are rightfully calling for additional election security measures, they are rejecting commonsense proposals, fearing a breakdown of their legislated electoral advantages. Ballot harvesting is a cooking pot for election fraud and abuse, and we need to get all the cooks out of the kitchen."

Ballot harvesting is a practice where campaign workers or volunteers collect absentee ballots from certain voters and drop them off at a polling place or election office. While the practice is illegal in most states like North Carolina, where we recently saw the North Carolina State Board of Elections issue a new election in the 9th Congressional District under allegations of illegal harvesting of ballots, it is legal in California.

Walker introduced an amendment to H.R. 1 during the committee markup that would prohibit the practice of ballot harvesting but was voted down by Committee Democrats, three of which are from California. House Democrats also rejected an amendment offered in Rules Committee by a group of Members from California to prohibit the practice of ballot harvesting.

"We cannot create election reform aimed at making our system more secure without tackling the clear problem that currently exists with ballot harvesting. It opens the door to ballot manipulation by allowing an unsecure delivery service from your home to the polling precinct. If the Democratic majority were serious about election security, why didn’t they address this real election security threat in H.R. 1?" said Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.). "I completely support the assistance of delivering ballots for anyone who is unable, but we cannot be naïve to think that this practice is not being taken advantage of on a larger scale by political operatives."