Lawmaker Calls to Cut Funding to States That Allow Ballot Harvesting

By Miguel Moreno

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) has proposed cutting federal election funding to states that allow ballot collecting, also known as ballot harvesting.

Davis’s bill would not cut funds to states that allow ballot collecting by people authorized to deliver U.S. mail, elected officials, and family members of the voter, to name a few. He introduced the bill in response to the House Democrats’ HEROES Act. Part of that bill would require every state to allow ballot collecting for federal elections during the pandemic.

That would mean that anyone could go door-to-door, gathering an unlimited number of absentee or mail-in ballots from different people, and submit them. It’s a controversial practice, and the author of The Constitution Study, Paul Engel, said he agrees with Davis: ballot harvesting is a threat to elections.

“If you want to have free, fair elections, they must be open, they must be transparent,” Engel told NTD News. “And the problem you have with ballot harvesting—and with all mail-in ballots to be honest—is there’s a break in the chain of custody, from the person who placed the vote, to the point it gets counted.”

mail in ballot
An “I Voted” sticker included in a mail-in ballot package is seen at a Ballot Party at a private residence in Laguna Niguel, in Orange County, Calif., on Oct. 24, 2018. (AFP via Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

Ballot collecting leaves more room for tampering and the illegal submission of ballots. In Engel’s words, it’s “the perfect storm for voter election fraud.”

The issue received national attention during the 2018 election for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. McCrae Dowless, a former campaign consultant, was indicted for allegedly collecting ballots illegally and ultimately tampering with the electoral process.

But the laws vary state by state. California allows ballot collecting, meanwhile, other states limit the number of ballots an individual can turn in and or specify who that individual can be, according to Ballotpedia. The practice is illegal in North Carolina.