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Ballot Harvesting Is Happening: This Is What You Need To Know

If you think the election is in November I have news for you. Ballot harvesting means the election starts in October and maybe ends whenever. If this sounds depressing, fuzzy and frankly weird, you are absolutely correct. Ballot harvesting is a big messy complicated topic. This is going to be a weird year. If you think the political season of 2020 is weird now, the actual voting process will be even weirder. But we can not put our heads in the sand. We should not put our fingers in our ears and pretend it is 2016. This is 2020. This is California, and ballot harvesting is here. This is what you need to know. And we really really really can't afford to sit out an election just because we don't like the process.

As I write this we are less than two months out from the presidential election of 2020. I say we are two months out from the election because this year the election is NOT going to be a one day deal. My county, Marin County, is almost certainly going to be a vote by mail county. I may not have the option of voting in person. (My personal preference is to vote in person. But I refuse to sit out the election. I am voting. So... this year I will be getting a paper ballot in my mail, I will be filling it out while being careful to bubble within the ovals --think highschool exams-- I will be sure I have a black pen and I will be sure I do not have a pen that bleeds through. I will vote every down ballot race and every ballot initiative. I will put my ballot in the appropriate envelope, sign the back --within the box-- and go to my OFFICIAL voter drop off place at the Marin Civic Center and drop it off. No vote harvesters for me!!!)

If you are worried about the mail-in ballots.... you aren't the only one and you aren't a conspiracy theorist. Plenty of people vote by mail safely. But really... if only two percent of voters don't get their votes counted, or if two percent of votes counted aren't counted the way the voter actually intended, we don't have a legitimate election anymore. Personally I think America deserves better than an election that is, maybe, fair. But... so far 2020 has been a year when anything happens.

Although ANYTHING could happen in the next month or two, currently the presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. The election is the first Tuesday in November. Simple enough. (But we sort of didn’t have the Derby this year so I am willing to entertain the idea that the date of the election —as well as the results— may be up in the air.)

California has ballot harvesting and we also have “early voting.” If you live in California you need to know what that means. If you don’t live in California you should probably read this too…. Because California is a bellwether state… what happens here could happen in your state in about two election cycles. So… pay attention. Millions of Californians didn’t want this to happen. Many are pretending it isn’t happening. But voter harvesting is happening.

O.k. Presumably if you have gotten this far you have taken care of the voter registration process… If you haven't registered to vote yet do it NOW!!!!! We NEED YOUR VOTE! This is how! If you are a non California voter fascinated by the strange chaos of the California political process hey... buckle up and enjoy the ride through the weeds..

Ballot Harvesting…. What is it? Like most Republicans I’ve been avoiding the ugly topic as long as I can. Quite frankly ballot harvesting is something Republicans don’t really approve of, but… in California it is legal. Basically ballot harvesting means that if someone is a “vote by mail” voter but doesn’t turn in their ballot (there are ways of getting the lists of people who are registered to vote, on the list for “vote by mail” but… haven’t yet sent in their ballot... and guess what, everyone is getting a mail in ballot this year!) a “harvester” can legally go out, find that voter and… get the ballot. What happens in person…. hmmm…. we wonder about that… There are stories of people who are no longer compos mentos turning their ballots over to someone else and suddenly “voting” for a political party they have been vehemently opposed to for their entire lives. (The nasty term for that nasty practicing is "granny harvesting." Frankly, I think it is a form of elder abuse. I disapprove.)

As a Republican I’m sort of a self starter. And I respect people’s right NOT to participate in the political process. I’ve done “get out the vote” phone calls. (If you want to volunteer to get out the vote for Trump --and the downballot Republicans we NEED this year... go here. You can volunteer and work solo from home if you want!) I always vote. Always. But… I respect people's right NOT to vote if they decide they choose not to. Personally, I think ballot harvesting is about exerting pressure… and I think that after being bombarded with every political ad under the sun if a voter doesn’t want to vote… that is the voter’s choice. But… ballot harvesting is happening in California. And the modern Left is really really really good at it. Ballot harvesting is flipping seats. Ballot harvesting is changing the map. Ballot harvesting may not be the future but it is definitely 2020. (And Republicans aren’t even good at complaining about it.) So… we should be aware of reality. We should decide how we want to campaign. How we want to gather ballots. We should decide what we really want to do. My personal stance is that I will vote. I am a registered voter, have been for as long as I’ve been of age to vote. I prefer to vote in person, but because of Covid-19, shut-down and what my local registrar of voters has decided I will be casting an absentee ballot. I will vote my ballot a.s.a.p. and then I will personally drop it off at the official ballot collection box at my local civic center. No ballot harvesting for my ballot. So my personal point of view is… register, vote, be pro-active. But… maybe being pro-active for you means you will become a ballot harvester. Or conduct a voter registration drive.

As a citizen we all have roles to play. And voting isn’t that hard. We can do this. And we cannot afford to pretend ballot harvesting, vote harvesting and whatever aren’t happening. They are. This election is on. I truly believe if we stay engaged we can win this. But… you have to have hope, you have to have heart, and you have to make an effort. America is worth the effort. So is the Golden State. No matter how tarnished the California dream may be, it is still worth fighting for. Still worth making an effort for. So… get out there and get ready to vote! We only have two-ish months to win it or lose it.

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