Race shines light on ‘bal­lot har­vest­ing’

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - OBITUARIES / NEWS -

HE­LENA, Mont. (AP) - An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tives in North Carolina il­le­gally col­lected and pos­si­bly stole ab­sen­tee bal­lots in a still-un­de­cided con­gres­sional race has drawn at­ten­tion to a wide­spread but lit­tle­known po­lit­i­cal tool called bal­lot har­vest­ing.

It’s a prac­tice long used by spe­cial-in­ter­est groups and both ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties that is viewed ei­ther as a voter ser­vice that boosts turnout or a ne­far­i­ous ac­tiv­ity that sub­jects vot­ers to in­tim­i­da­tion and makes elec­tions vul­ner­a­ble to fraud.

The groups rely on data show­ing which vot­ers re­quested ab­sen­tee bal­lots but have not turned them in. They then go door-to-door and of­fer to col­lect and turn in those bal­lots for the vot­ers - of­ten dozens or hun­dreds at a time. Some place bal­lot-col­lec­tion boxes in high­con­cen­tra­tion voter ar­eas, such as col­lege cam­puses, and take the bal­lots to elec­tion of­fices when the boxes are full.

In North Carolina, elec­tion of­fi­cials are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Re­pub­li­can po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tives har­vested bal­lots in parts of the 9th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict with high num­bers of Demo­cratic vot­ers and then did not turn them in to the lo­cal elec­tions of­fice. Bal­lot har­vest­ing is il­le­gal un­der state law, which al­lows only a fam­ily mem­ber or le­gal guardian to drop off ab­sen­tee bal­lots for a voter.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is fo­cus­ing on ar­eas in the dis­trict where an un­usu­ally high num­ber of ab­sen­tee bal­lots were not re­turned.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.