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Paul Ryan ruffles Dem feathers on his way out, questions California’s ‘bizarre’ new ‘ballot harvesting’ practice

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Outgoing Republican Speaker Paul Ryan questioned election results in California in the aftermath of the midterm elections, calling the liberal state’s electoral system “bizarre.”

But then, as was just seen in Florida, Democrats have a tendency after an election to keep counting votes until they win, if they can do so unchallenged.


“It defies logic to me,” Ryan told Washington Post reporter Paul Kane. “We had a lot of wins that night, and three weeks later we lost basically every contested California race. This election system they have, I can’t begin to understand what ballot harvesting is.”

“When you have candidates who win the absentee ballot vote, win the day of the vote and then lose three weeks later because of provisional, that’s really bizarre,” he explained.

Ryan stopped short of saying there was wrongdoing in California, but here is more on “ballot harvesting” from OAN:


Repeating almost verbatim what Florida Democrats said, California’s Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla took a swipe at Ryan in a tweet Thursday afternoon.

“[Speaker Ryan], in California we make sure every ballot is properly counted and accounted for. That’s not ‘bizarre,’ that’s DEMOCRACY,” Padilla tweeted.

“Ballot harvesting” is the result of a 2016 law passed largely along party lines by Democrats in the state that essentially allows paid political campaign workers to go to homes and collect absentee ballots that were not mailed in and take them to polling places — effectively eliminating chain of custody controls by election officials.

More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Critics charge that Democrats have little interest in differentiating between legitimate and illegitimate votes in Democrat-heavy precincts. And their paid “collectors” are only interested in returning ballots from Democratic voters, even if there’s a Republican voter in the same home.

California took longer than other state to finish counting ballots cast Nov. 6, according to Fox News.

Orange County Republican Party Chairman Fred Whitaker explained to supporters why Democrats won every seat in the county.

“The number of election day vote-by-mail drop-offs was unprecedented — over 250,000,” Whitaker wrote, according to The Chronicle. “This is a direct result of ballot harvesting. That directly caused the switch from being ahead on election night to losing two weeks later.”

Democrats flipped seven House seats across the state, with Republicans holding just seven of 53 House districts.

Ryan delivered his farewell address to Congress Thursday and it created barely a ripple in the news cycle — which helps explain why he’s retiring.

Drafted in 2015 to replace then-House Speaker John Boehner, who was stepping down, the Wisconsin Republican, who also served as chairman of the House Budget Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, just didn’t seem to have the stomach for the fight in highly polarized Washington.

Tom Tillison


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