New Program Aims to Help Republicans Harvest Ballots Legally in California

Many Republican voters are rightfully skeptical of ballot harvesting, but Reform California has created a new program to facilitate legal ballot harvesting in the 2022 elections.

Ballot harvesting is the gathering and submitting of completed ballots by third-parties, like volunteers or workers, rather than by voters themselves directly to polling centers. It is a controversial voting practice that is illegal in most states - but not in California where Democrats legalized it and have promoted it for the past several election cycles. 

While Republicans still oppose ballot harvesting, some groups are launching programs to do ballot harvesting among conservative voters in a legal way.

Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, says while he strongly opposes ballot harvesting, as long as it is legal and being used by Democrats, then Republicans should do it too or risk not winning elections. 

“I want to ban ballot harvesting eventually, but until that time conservatives need to be smart and we need to use the same strategies Democrats are using and do them better in order to win in this state,” said DeMaio. “Whether we like it or not, ballot harvesting is legal so let’s make it our advantage,” he continued.

That’s why Reform California and Carl DeMaio are conducting a pilot test of a Republican ballot harvesting operation in San Diego. Their campaign centers around hosting a number of “Barbeque, Beer and Ballots” events throughout the county and organizing “Drive & Drag” volunteer deployments.

“Barbeque, Beer and Ballots” Events

“We first tested ‘Barbeque, Beer and Ballot’ events in 2020 and they were a hit, and now we’re upscaling them to make sure we win in 2022,” explained DeMaio. “They make voting fun, safe, and secure.”

DeMaio says that these events offer a barbeque and beer dinner, information on safe voting, answers to questions on candidates and an opportunity to hear from several candidates, and the option to turn in your ballot for safe delivery to your local elections office by Reform California — what DeMaio calls “ballot harvesting done right.”

Volunteers spent months hand-addressing invitations to target voters in every neighborhood - and volunteers are canvassing door-to-door with invites as well.

“We trust most Republicans and informed voters to turn in their ballots themselves, but we are using these fun social BBQ events we’ll give them the option to turn them in with us for safe delivery,” said DeMaio. “Ballots go in a lock-box and straight to the Registrar of Voters — we take election integrity very seriously,” he continued.

Reform California will also use the events to present DeMaio’s “Plain English Voter Guide” — a guide that gives a simple description of each ballot measure and scores candidates running for every office based on their positions on opposing taxes, fighting crime, improving schools, creating jobs, and more. You can access the county-wide guide HERE.

“Drive & Drag” Volunteer Deployments 

The second campaign Reform California is launching to assist in ballot collection is a “Drive & Drag'' volunteer program. The events will pair up two volunteers in targeted neighborhoods to drive to specific homes that haven’t returned ballots yet and knock on their doors to remind them to vote. 

“One person ‘drives,’ and one person ‘drags’ voters metaphorically to the polls — It’s fun, efficient, and easy to do!” said DeMaio.

“We are having volunteers drive these neighborhoods because the point is to skip the homes of high-propensity voters who always vote and to only target low-propensity voters to harvest their ballots or stimulate them to vote,” DeMaio noted. 

“Plus it is a lot easier to convince a volunteer to participate if they are riding in a car versus walking door-to-door,” DeMaio said.

Get Out the Vote Digital & Mail Campaigns

Barbeques and door knocking aren’t the only campaigns DeMaio and Reform California have up their sleeves. Reform, one of the largest grassroots organizations in the state, is built on its connection to the people — which they achieve largely via digital outreach and physical mail.

“We’re going to be using our systems to call, email, text, and run digital ads anywhere and everywhere we can to mobilize voters and get them to turn in their ballots,” said DeMaio. 

“We also send out physical mailers informing key voters of the issues in the election and encouraging them to vote,” he continued. “And you know that our efforts are effective when the Democrats are already panicking.”

DeMaio says that all of these efforts together are threatening one-party control of California. That’s why Carl DeMaio and Reform California are asking for your help to sign up for these events or do what you can today to support their campaigns.

“Together, we can flip key seats and restore balance to the politics in this state,” DeMaio concluded.

Attend a “Barbeque, Beer and Ballot” or “Drive and Drag” event in San Diego

Join the Fight: Flip Key Seats in 2022

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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