How did California flip seven house seats from Republican, including all of Orange County – long a Republican stronghold?

By “ballot harvesting”, that’s how.

And how does it work?

Here is the “ballot harvesting” legislation, pushed by Democrat Governor Jerry Brown and passed by the mostly-Democrat voters of California, that made it operational.  The bold print is mine:

AB 1921, Gonzalez. Elections: vote by mail ballots.
Existing law requires that the vote by mail ballot be available to any registered voter. Under existing law, a voter who is unable to return his or her vote by mail ballot may designate his or her spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or person residing in the same household as the vote by mail voter to return the vote by mail ballot. Except in the case of a candidate or the spouse of a candidate, existing law prohibits the return of a voter’s vote by mail ballot by one of those designees who is also a paid or volunteer worker of a general purpose committee, controlled committee, or any other group or organization at whose behest the individual designated to return the ballot is performing a service.
This bill would remove those restrictions and instead authorize the designation of any person to return a vote by mail ballot. The bill would prohibit a person designated to return a vote by mail ballot from receiving any form of compensation, as defined, based on the number of ballots that the person has returned and would prohibit an individual, group, or organization from providing compensation on this basis. The bill would state that any person in charge of a vote by mail ballot who knowingly and willingly engages in criminal acts related to that ballot is subject to the appropriate punishment pursuant to existing law.
This bill would incorporate additional changes to Section 3017 of the Elections Code proposed by SB 450 that would become operative only if SB 450 and this bill are both chaptered and this bill is chaptered last.


In other words, if you send out campaign operatives to knock on doors, go to senior homes, go anywhere votes might be harvested, ask people which party they prefer – maybe helping their decision along by reciting their agenda – you can get voters for the party you work for to give you their ballot, which you will then submit (while maybe help out a little in filling the ballot out – wink, wink).

Did Republicans realize how badly Brown and his fellow Democrats had gamed them?  Nope.  Read this excerpt from John Wildermuth and Tal Kopan’s article for the San Francisco Chronicle and see for yourself:

Some national Republicans expressed befuddlement with what was happening to their party in California. In an interview with the Washington Post, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin called California’s election system “really bizarre” and said he couldn’t even begin to understand what ballot harvesting is.

“We were only down 26 seats (nationally) the night of the election and three weeks later, we lost basically every California race,” he said. “Point being, when you have candidates that win the absentee ballot vote, win the day of the vote, and then lose three weeks later because of provisionals, that’s really bizarre.”

However, this was no spur-of-the-moment effort by the Democrats, said Shawn Steel, the California GOP’s delegate to the Republican National Committee.

“This was not done at the last minute,” he said. “It started the day after Jerry signed” the bill.

There is an old saying:  “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me”.  If ever a saying were operable and worth remembering, it is that one in California, come 2020. Maybe then, Republicans will figure out ways of pulling the same crap this law enabled Democrats to “win” elections with and things will even out at least somewhat.

But, for 2018, the damage has already been done.

When do we restore sanity to our voting laws?  Ever?

1 Comment

  • Republicans are finished in California. As a Californian I can tell you, now that the D’s hold all of the power in CA they will not be relinquishing it. Once they outlaw firearms I will be moving.

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