We said it on Oct. 24, 2020.
More than a week prior to Election Day, before we knew what the results would look like, The Iowa Standard was calling for Iowa to address its absentee voting laws.
And we applaud the state legislature for doing just that.
Iowa Democrats were busy conducting ballot harvesting all fall. The Polk County Democrats announced an official drive-thru ballot drop box located at a mosque in Des Moines.
And, in addition, they would have free Bosnian gyros on both days!
It was literally a paid ad on Facebook.
Bring the Democrats your ballot, receive free food.
Jamie Burch Elliott, a lobbyist on behalf of the abortionists at Planned Parenthood, noted that her husband was deliver his ballot, her ballot, his father’s ballot and their neighbor’s ballot to the Polk County Elections office.
And there were other ballot “drop offs” around the metro:
Were they legal in 2020? Yeah, probably. But they sure do not seem right.
The law certainly seems inconsistent as Republicans and Democrats are supposed to be present at polling locations on Election Day. But not so for absentee ballot harvesting.
I asked the Secretary of State’s office some basic questions:
- When I go to vote at a polling place on election day, can I fill out my ballot and then give it to someone else to put in the machine? Voters can have someone assist them at the polls. If it’s an issue with a disability, then I believe this is allowed.
- When I go to vote at a polling place on election day, can a member of the local county Democrat or Republican party talk with me after I’ve received my ballot and before I turn my ballot after in? No.
- Can a political party provide free food at a polling place? No.
So, to be clear, there are things I cannot legally do at a polling place where there are observers from both parties and I’m essentially being watched the entire time that I can do when there is nobody from either party watching and zero observation to ensure the integrity of my ballot.
Emily Russell was right when she testified in support of the election reform bill on Monday night.
“As someone who has dealt with various political organizations over the years, the concept of ballot harvesting is very unsettling to me,” she said. “Political parties, campaigns and special interest groups should never be trusted to collect and return a voter’s ballot. If that doesn’t raise fed flags in your head, then you aren’t paying attention to the state of our current political climate.”
I wonder why our legislature is taking a look at tightening absentee ballot laws.
It is simple — because it is the responsible thing to do.