Getting ready to finish up his long career in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Thursday that there was something fishy about how California’s congressional election results suddenly tipped over to the Democratic Party long after election night. In remarks made at a Washington Post Live event, Ryan said that he was baffled by the practices that led to the Democrats’ eventual rout.
“California just defies logic to me,” Ryan said. “We were only down 26 seats the night of the election, and three weeks later, we lost basically every California contested race. This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is.”
“Do you think there’s something wrong with it?” asked the paper’s Paul Kane.
“No, I just think it’s weird,” Ryan said.
Under fire from one of the most powerful Republicans in Washington, California Democrats circled the wagons and blasted Ryan for daring to question the state’s strange election laws, some of which allow third party activists to go around and collect ballots from voters who can’t be bothered to leave the house. This is the “harvesting” that Ryan was referring to, and it is the practice largely responsible for turning these races around in the weeks since the election. Democrats, like California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, insist that this is nothing more or less than democracy in action, and that Republicans who don’t like it are just trying to suppress the vote.
Keep in mind, they have mail-in voting in California, so the whole “Oh I don’t have any way to get to the polls” is not a valid excuse.
Here’s the problem with ballot harvesting and why it is illegal in many states, including Arizona. The “harvesters” – the activists who go around and collect ballots – are usually Democrat Party supporters. Thus, they are turning election day into a race for persuasion. They aren’t canvassing neighborhoods looking for “votes.” They are looking only for DEMOCRAT votes. What happens when a guy with a Trump flag out front hands them his ballot? Does that ballot mysteriously wind up in the trash? Does it get tampered with? There are too many opportunities for fraud for this to be an acceptable practice.
As Ryan said, “it’s weird.”
More than a quarter-million “harvested” ballots were dropped off on election day. Many more came pouring in the week since the election, as California law only requires that ballots be postmarked by that day. And that’s not even getting into the state’s loose laws in regard to same-day voter registration, ballots cast at the wrong precinct, and DMV registration, where non-citizens are regularly put onto the rolls.
Who can trust the outcome of an election when this many “weird” pieces are up in the air?