Greg Marshall: I still worry about ballot mischief |

Greg Marshall: I still worry about ballot mischief

On Sept. 27, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation codifying the practice of mailing ballots to every registered voter in California in future elections.

Newsom first directed that be done in the fall of 2020 under the guise of COVID-19 safety, declaring it increases voter turnout and that there is no difference between absentee voting and mass mailing of ballots to all registered voters.

I submit there is a significant difference.

The absentee voting process requires a registered voter to submit a request to the county registrar asking that a ballot be sent to a current address. The registrar verifies the requester is an eligible voter in that county and records the information. Future ballots are sent to the requester at the requested address.

Military folks deployed or stationed somewhere other than their home of record, elderly or anyone who might have trouble getting to a voting place and anyone who prefers to not vote in person can use this process and request an absentee ballot. While not foolproof, the chance of fraudulent voting with the absentee ballot system seems minimal.

Mass mailing of ballots to every person on the registrar’s records is another story. I submit it is a recipe for fraudulent voting.

In 2017 the watchdog group Judicial Watch claimed 11 California counties had more voters listed than actual voters in their jurisdictions and sued the state. County and state elections officials refuted those claims, but Los Angeles County and the state in 2019 did in fact agree to purge 1.5 million inactive voters off the rolls as part of their settlement with Judicial Watch.

The alleged overages on county registrars’ rolls are made up of voters who have moved out of the county, died or are considered “inactive” and have not been purged from the records. Those overages could easily represent hundreds of thousands of ballots mailed to ineligible voters in counties with millions of registered voters.

Though official say they don’t do this, who knows how many ballots are mailed to ineligible voters as well as active ones and might be collected, marked and returned fraudulently? That’s my concern.

If registrars in these counties can’t keep accurate voter records, it’s hard to imagine them having the resources to accurately check every returned mailed in ballot for completion, accuracy and voter eligibility.

In California that won’t make any difference because of the overwhelming percentage of Democrats in this state. In California it is unlikely that “ballot harvesting” and other questionable practices would be required to keep the left in power.

But in “swing” states where the margin of victory may be in thousands of votes, it is a different story. In those states, I believe the chances for fraudulent submission of mass mailed ballots are real and could impact the outcome of an election.

If you think the hanging chads in Florida were bad in 2000, I don’t think you’ve seen anything yet.

The absentee ballot system is an established, relatively safe system that is unlikely to be manipulated to change the results of an election. I’m concerned that a mass mailing, on the other hand, is fraught with opportunities for fraud on a large scale.

Greg Marshall lives in Penn Valley.

Editor’s note: Elections officials statewide note that “inactive” voters are not sent elections materials and must reinstate themselves before receiving ballots. This also is reflected in state election regulations.

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