Former Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) joined with Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) to introduce a bill this month that would put pressure on states that let third-parties collect mail-in ballots from voters, a practice known as ballot harvesting.
“Right now, there are still many states in our country that allow for something called ballot harvesting. This is a system that allows for third parties to collect and deliver ballots for other people, potentially large numbers of people. Unfortunately, ballot harvesting has allowed for fraud and abuse to occur by those who could tamper with or discard ballots to try to sway an election for or against a certain candidate or party,” Gabbard said in a video statement about the bill earlier in September.
Gabbard highlighted the bill after videos released by the watchdog Project Veritas group allegedly showed people engaging in ballot harvesting and pay-for-vote schemes.
“Project Veritas offers further evidence of the need to ban ballot harvesting,” she wrote on Twitter on Monday.
“It’s not a partisan issue. It’s been abused to help both R & D candidates, including in North Carolina & California. Please help by telling your congressional rep to pass our bipartisan bill HR8285.”
The legislation, dubbed the Election Fraud Prevention Act, would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to bar federal payments to states that allow ballot harvesting.
The text of the legislation has not yet been released, though the bill has been introduced in the House. No other official action has been taken as of yet.
Davis, ranking member of the House Administration Committee, also said that he sees ballot harvesting as nonpartisan issue.
“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,” he said in a statement when the bill was introduced.
“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.”
Several other bills aimed at preventing ballot harvesting were introduced by Davis during the current Congress, including H.R. 4736, which would block funding to states unless the state prohibits people from collecting and transmitting a ballot for an election for federal office that was mailed to another person, other than a family member or caregiver, or an election official or U.S. Postal Service employee.
Minneapolis police officials are investigating the voter fraud allegations brought forth by Project Veritas.