Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Rodney Davis Introduce Bill to Ban Vote Harvesting & Protect Mail-In Ballots from Third-Party Predators
Press Release from Office of Rep Tulsi Gabbard, September 17, 2020
Washington, DC—Today, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) introduced H.R.8285, the Election Fraud Prevention Act, a bipartisan bill that aims to improve the security of the mail-in ballot process.
“The strength of our democracy lies in the integrity of our elections. Whether in the midst of a pandemic where mail-in voting is likely to drastically increase, or in a normal election, no one should get in between a voter and the ballot box. While some states have prohibited vote harvesting, many states lack any regulations that would stop third-parties from fraudulently collecting and mishandling ballots as has occurred in recent elections. Our bipartisan bill incentivizes states to take action and prevent any political parties or any third-party special interest groups from interfering with our sacred right to vote,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
“Banning ballot harvesting shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” said Rep. Rodney Davis. “Allowing any individual, including political operatives, to pick up multiple voters’ ballots and deliver them to a polling location undermines the integrity of our elections. We’ve seen ballot harvesting widely used in states like California and a recent court case in North Carolina outlined the clear opportunities for fraud and coercion with the ballot harvesting process. This bipartisan bill will encourage states to ban this process that is ripe for fraud and is a major threat to the integrity of our elections.”
Background: H.R.8285, the Election Fraud Prevention Act would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit payments to States which permit ballot harvesting.
Currently, depending on the State or locality, voters have the option of mailing their ballot, leaving their ballot in a drop box, having their ballots collected and submitted by a third party, or returning them at the polls or a local election office.
The Election Fraud Prevention Act ensures that voters seeking to turn in their mail-in ballots may only be assisted by an election official or mail carrier acting in their official capacities as well as family members, household members, or caregivers.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been outspoken about the need to protect the U.S. election system. In 2018, she introduced the Securing America’s Elections Act to protect the country’s election infrastructure from cyber-hackers by requiring the use of voter-verified paper ballots or a paper ballot backup in federal elections and which garnered support from the non-partisan, government reform group Common Cause.
She reintroduced this bill in March 2019 and has supported several other bills to protect and promote voter enfranchisement including the voting rights provisions in H.R.1 the For the People Act of 2019, H.R.51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and H.R.645, the Automatic Voter Registration Act.