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Dems won’t like what Tulsi Gabbard has to say about ballot harvesting; introduces bipartisan bill to end it

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Former Democratic presidential contender and retiring Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has panned the tactic of “ballot harvesting” ahead of the November elections, a voter-gathering technique Republicans have long held is ripe for fraud.

“Banning ballot harvesting is not a partisan issue. It’s been used & abused in states like North Carolina and California & is ripe for fraud,” Gabbard wrote in a post on Twitter Friday that included a video of her explaining a bipartisan bill she introduced with GOP Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois to federally ban the practice.

Known as the Election Fraud Prevention Act, Gabbard wrote it is designed “to protect the integrity of our elections & our democracy.”

“We’re getting closer to Election Day now and it is critical to remember that the strength of our democracy lies in the integrity of our elections,” Gabbard says in the video. “Every one of us has to have faith that our vote will count.

“But right now, there are still many states in our country that allow for something called ballot harvesting,” she continued, explaining the process.

“This is a system that allows for third parties to collect and deliver ballots for other people, potentially large numbers of people,” the Hawaii lawmaker said. “Unfortunately, ballot harvesting has allowed for fraud and abuse to occur by those who could tamper with or discard ballots to try and sway an election for or against a certain candidate or party.”

Regardless of whether Americans are voting by mail or in person, “no one should get in between a voter and the ballot box.”

Gabbard said some states have banned the practice of ballot harvesting and some have allowed it, adding that there have been instances where the process has been used to defraud elections.

“Our bipartisan bill protects the chain of custody for every one of our ballots by prohibiting funding from going to states that allow this practice,” Gabbard — who is also an officer in the Hawaii Army National Guard — said, adding that it also encourages states to end the harvesting practice.

The legislation comes as Democrat-leaning courts in California and the swing states of Michigan and Pennsylvania issued rulings late in the week that, according to critics, change state laws regarding balloting.

— California: While no Republican presidential candidate has won the state since then-Vice President George H. W. Bush in 1988, there are a number of competitive congressional districts that some Republicans believe were ‘stolen’ by Democratic ballot harvesting in 2018.

Former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, explained in his recent book “Power Grab” that Democrats took eight seats from the GOP two years ago using ballot harvesting.

— Michigan: On Friday, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled that ballots can be counted 14 days after the Nov. 3 election despite the fact that state law “requires them to be received by the time polls close on Election Day,” ABC News reported.

“The evidence in this case stands uncontroverted and establishes that the mail system is currently fraught with delays and uncertainty in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she ruled in overriding the law.

— Pennsylvania: The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that ballots received up to three days after Election Day must be counted, though state law says they cannot be if they are received after Election Day.

In addition, the court ruled ballots that do not have postmarks will also be counted.

The ballots “received within this period that lack a postmark or other proof of mailing, or for which the postmark or other proof of mailing is illegible, will be presumed to have been mailed by Election Day unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day,” the court ruled.

The state high court also kicked the Green Party candidate off the November ballot, claiming it did not fulfill technical requirements in a decision conservative critics blasted as helpful to Democrats because Green Party voters tend to be very liberal.

Jon Dougherty

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