Republicans have long lamented the practice of ballot harvesting.
Efforts to ban the practice in the state of California have failed time and time again, but — now that the state governorship hangs in the balance — GOP operatives are opting to use their political opponents’ questionable election practice against them.
Republican ballot harvesting efforts, led by Rescue California, may change these prospects, however.
According to KABC-TV, Rescue California — a political committee at the forefront of the recall effort — is creating a “Volunteer Citizens Brigade” that will perform a targeted “ballot harvesting” of Republican voters throughout the state.
Ballot harvesting is a process that allows third-party political operatives to collect voters’ ballots and then deliver those ballots to polling places.
Up until 2016, only a voter, a relative of a voter or a citizen that lived in the same household as that voter was allowed to hand in their ballot.
It was then that Gov. Jerry Brown signed a ballot harvesting measure into law allowing anyone to collect and turn in absentee ballots, according to The Press-Enterprise.
A document from Rescue California — obtained by KABC — laid out the organization’s full ballot harvesting plan.
“Taking advantage of the massive Volunteer Citizens Brigade created by the Recall, we will contact all 5.3 million Republican voters in the state through door-to-door canvassing, texting, emailing, mail and phone calls to ‘harvest’ ballots, creating a GOP wave capable of overcoming the Democrat’s registration advantage in the state,” the document states.
“Independent voters who are identified as recall supporters will be included in the Ballot Harvesting/GOTV program.”
Should Rescue California’s efforts prove successful, Republicans still have some work to do if they wish to take over the state’s governorship.
As of now, if Newsom were to be recalled, the leading candidate would be Democratic contender Kevin Paffrath, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for KABC, KGTV-TV and The San Diego Union-Tribune.
A professional YouTuber and real estate broker, Paffrath would take in 27 percent of the replacement vote.
Coming in second place, according to the poll, would be renowned conservative radio host Larry Elder with 23 percent of the vote.
From there, it is a bit of a drop-off, with third place being Republican candidate John Cox, currently at 10 percent.
If Republicans truly want to take the governorship, their best chance lies in consolidating votes around Elder. Otherwise, the office will simply change hands from one Democrat to another.
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