Idaho Dispatch

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Rep. Mike Moyle (R-14) Introduces Bill Banning Ballot Harvesting

By • February 6, 2021

A new bill has been introduced in the Idaho Legislature to ban ballot harvesting in Idaho.

HB 88 was introduced Wednesday morning by Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star) in the House State Affairs Committee.

The bill’s official Statement of Purpose is as follows:

This legislation addresses the issue of “ballot harvesting” – which is the practice of third party individuals and groups, many of them political activists or political parties, “harvesting” absentee or mail ballots from voters and then delivering them to election officials for processing and counting. This legislation would prohibit this practice by limiting ballot handling to those authorized to do so pursuant to Idaho law.

Idaho does not currently experience significant problems with ballot harvesting. However, it has become a widespread practice in some other states, where its practice places many voters’ ballots, and the sanctity of their vote, into the hands of those who may have a conflicted interest in the election’s outcome. These individuals may have a political incentive to deliver to the county clerk certain ballots, but not others, based on the ballot harvester’s perception or knowledge of the voter’s choices. Indeed, in 2018, there was at least one
U.S. Congressional election in which the election outcome waslikely changed by a ballot harvester withholding or tampering with absentee ballots. The purpose of this legislation is to help prevent such an outcome in any Idaho elections.

The specifics of this legislation are based on the recommendations of the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, in their 2005 report Building Confidence in U.S. Elections, and would limit ballot handling to election officials, U.S. Mail carriers, employees of nationwide parcel delivery businesses, and acknowledged family members.

Moyle’s proposal has a few exceptions for picking up ballots such as U.S. Postal workers. Additionally, HB 88 would allow a family member to collect a total of two ballots of someone who is also a family member.

Moyle, the HB 88’s sponsor, said during the bill’s introduction:

I was concerned that maybe we needed to fix Idaho’s law to make sure we don’t have a problem here in the future with harvesting ballots.

Rep. Julianne Young (R-Blackfoot), who sits on the committee where the bill was introduced, said she had some concerns and said the following during the introductory hearing:

I guess I just have a little tiny bit of concern. I wanna make sure, that if somebody doesn’t have family close by, and they’re in some kind of an in-patient setting that their would be a resonable, lawful way for them to vote. I guess I’m a little undecided here.

Several other lawmakers such as Rep. Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) and Rep. Rod Furniss (R-Rigby) brought up concerns about individuals who are in assisted living facilities and who did not have family members that could collect their ballots.

Moyle indicated that people in assisted living facilities can still have ballots sent to those facilities allowing them to vote.

Idaho Dispatch sent Moyle a follow up question asking about people living in assisted living facilities, who do not have family members near by, but do not feel comfortable mailing their ballots back in the mail because they wanted to ensure the ballots made it to the county clerk. Is there a way for them to have their ballot picked up?

Moyle did not respond to our request for comment.

During the 2020 election, a number of states had controversial issues that arose during the election. One of those issues was ballot harvesting.

Idaho did not discuss the issue at length as some other states did.

Moyle’s bill passed the “introductory hearing” and will now move to a full public hearing. A public hearing for the bill has not yet been scheduled.

What do you think of ballot harvesting?

Should it be illegal? Is whoever picks up your ballot a concern and how many they have?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Tags: Ballot Harvesting, HB 88, Heather Scott, Julianne Young, Mike Moyle, Rod Furniss, Star

10 thoughts on “Rep. Mike Moyle (R-14) Introduces Bill Banning Ballot Harvesting

  1. Ballet harvesting should be illegal…period. Ballets can be mailed in and there are ways to check or follow up to see if they were received.

  2. I am happy to see that Idaho is trying to put a clamp on this process. As we found out in November 2020, election integrity encompasses many other issues as well. If all 50 states do not tighten up all the loose ends of the election process, then the process will not have integrity for the entire country. A democratic process within a constitutional republic is critically dependent on clean and fair elections, no small issue.

  3. This is a good start but FAR more important are the voting machines. Every kind of voting machine must be banned completely, for submission of votes and counting of votes. We have a small population and there is no reason whatsoever for these machines to be used. This should be top priority for every citizen and they should be demanding it from their legislators.

  4. Ballot Harvesting is asking for trouble.
    States that allow complete strangers to submit mass ballots without being able to verify they originated from the claimed voter as the voter intended is reckless. And there is no way to verify anonymous ballots harvested when submitted to the election officials in many jurisdictions.

    I’m completely opposed to anonymous ballot drop boxes where Ballots Harvested can be dropped off.

    If someone want to submit other ideas for individuals without close family members in the area, ideas are always worth considering.

    Voters using Absentee Ballots can check on their vote receipt status after being mailed to verify their receipt even before in person election day.
    This should be adequate for most worried that their ballot might be lost in the mail. Ada County elections office workers sent me the following link before the Nov. 3, 2020 and before election day I was able to verify they received my ballot. They did receive my ballot as expected.
    If they had lost my ballot, I could have been able to vote in person on election day.
    (And if my absentee ballot was received later, it would have been discarded after I was recorded as voting in person.)

    The link also allows voters to request absentee ballots for future elections and see voter history of when they voted.

  5. I think there really needs to be laws governing those in nursing homes, group homes and assisted living facilities who are “helping” resident fill out their ballots. Please read the following re: these facilities in Wisconsin in 2020.

    Some highlights: “Wisconsin Statute 6.875 governs absentee voting in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and expressly prohibits staff members from assisting residents in filling out their ballots. Under this statute, a municipal clerk or local elections board must appoint two “special voting deputies” (one nominated by each major political party) to conduct all absentee voting….

    In the three statewide elections in 2020, however, special voting deputies have not been allowed in assisted living facilities over fears of COVID-19 transmission. The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) ruled in March that it was too dangerous….
    “….As a result, nursing home staff members or others have been helping residents fill out ballots or, in the case of [whistleblower] Susan’s clients, simply filling out ballots on behalf of the residents and then having the residents sign them or forging the signatures.”

    Wisconsin can’t be the only state that has this problem.

  6. Ballot harvesting is a bad idea and is not to be allowed in Idaho (it created much fraud in California) Anyone can collect ballots and ballot harvesting leaves the door wide open for illegal and fraudulent votes. NO ON BALLOT HARVESTING!!!!! Idaho, we need HB 88 to protect our FREEDOM!!!

  7. In 2018 Orange County, California, 5 Republican Congress people who won the night of the election, all lost the next few days because of ballot harvesting. Who knows about the integrity of these ballots. The U.S. House changed from Republican to Democrat mainly from these type of tactics and Nancy Pelosi started her reign of terror on President Trump from that day on. No where in this country should ballot harvesting be allowed.

  8. I believe in what you are doing. I would like to add one other thing for election integrity. I have owned and managed apartments for many years. This is the first year I’ve seen a large influx is coastal people arriving right at election time. I didn’t think much of it until I saw Republicans only scored 63% of ballots cast where in the past it’s been high 70%. I looked how how long you need to be a resident of Idaho and found you only need 30 days. I can only guess many of there coming to Idaho at election time also still had residence in Oregon and voted in two states. I’d like to see our residency changed to six months to stop this migration at election time. If they were able to drop our election win percentage by 15% this time think what they can do next time. I live in Boise.

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