Practice of Ballot Harvesting — Where Campaign Workers Personally Collect Ballots from Voters During Elections — Banned by New Law
PHOENIX – This afternoon Chairman Robert Graham of the Arizona Republican Party thanked the members of the Arizona State House of Representatives and the Arizona Senate for passing a bill to ban ballot harvesting. Graham also thanked Governor Doug Ducey for signing the legislation shortly after it hit his desk this afternoon. Ballot harvesting is a tactic used by some campaigns to send people door-to-door and neighborhood-by-neighborhood to collect ballots from unwitting voters.
Once in the hands of campaign staff, the ballots are vulnerable to tampering, or even being discarded if they are opened and found to be supporting an opposing candidate.“We’ve stopped ballot harvesting and that’s great news for all voters and the public,” said Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham. “I’ve worked hard as Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party to come up with a solution to a problem that has the potential to destroy our election system and ruin the faith that we have in a democracy where every vote counts. We worked diligently and respectfully with legislators on both sides of the aisle, and both sides of the issue, and I especially thank Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita for putting the bill together, and greatly appreciate her colleagues in the House and Senate for supporting the integrity of our election process. Governor Ducey’s swiftness in acting to sign this bill into law indicates just how important this reform is, and in fact the integrity of government itself relies upon the public’s confidence in the way our votes are counted and our leaders are elected.”
All Arizona voters are entitled by law to vote in person or by a mailed-in ballot that comes with a postage-paid envelope. Ballots are mailed to voters about a month before each election, which previously gave campaigns ample opportunity to canvass neighborhoods and attempt to collected vote or unvoted ballots from individuals. The bill, HB2023, makes this practice a criminal act, but exempts caregivers or those delivering ballots for family members or roommates.
“This legislation reforms our election laws in a way that restores the public’s respect for a process that had potentially dangerous implications and provided too much opportunity for fraud and tampering with an election. It’s fitting to ensure that those who commit a crime by tampering with any ballot, or defrauding a voter to get them to give up their ballot, will be punished,” Graham added. “Voting in an election is considered a sacred process and one that must have integrity, security and legitimacy.”
This news release has been updated to reflect Governor Ducey signing bill into law later this afternoon.