wasting time improving my mind, when I ran across a reference that took me to this page:
The Democratic Party came into prominence in the 1840s by harvesting three out of five uncast slave ballots to check the North’s attempts at abolition. When Northern Whigs and Abolitionists had enough of Democrat vote padding under the three-fifths compromise, they formed the Republican Party to finally stop slavery for good.
Now, I’m against the practice. It is a throwback to the Bad Old Days of the Democratic Machine of the big cities, when voters would be bribed/threatened to cast their vote for the Democratic party, by virtue of the fact that their choice was public. Either they cast a colored ballot (indicating which party they were voting for) into a publicly-displayed box, or they vocally indicated who they preferred.
This was shown in the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” in a scene that puzzled me, the first time I saw it. The saloon was closed, all the men (no women) voted on the representatives they wanted to go to the capitol of the territory to vote on statehood. It’s an open vote, by voice.
Before that, I’d just never realized what an improvement a secret ballot was.
Ballot Harvesting is a mechanism that allows party-affiliated representatives to go into homes, nursing homes, and other residences to collect a voter’s absentee ballot. There are many stories about collecting from easily intimidated elders, semi-coherent nursing home residents, and other people without the ability to insist on a private vote.
The Heritage Foundation (I know, I know) has a nice explanation of why it’s a bad idea. You can go to the link to download the full 10 page report.
CBS News had a story on the downsides of the practice – although it’s telling that the only example they used was the case of a GOP operative engaging in the practice.
The case heading to the Supreme Court this Tuesday is about just one small aspect of the practice, but an important one. It’s a law making it illegal for a non-related person to actually mail the completed ballot. Even if upheld, don’t expect it to change much – they still have to PROVE that the ballot harvester (another type of migrant worker) actually did that. Most people wouldn’t want to get someone in trouble over it.
Think of how dubious this process is by its very nature. You have someone show up to your house. They state they are there to collect your mail-in ballot for you. And you just hand over your ballot to a stranger who comes to your door. Government officials warn you about strangers coming to your door and trying to sell you anything from magazines to solar panels, but they legalize someone coming to your door with potentially ginned-up credentials to take your sacred ballot to the election officials.