Congressional COVID-19 Relief Bill Would Nationalize Ballot Harvesting

Late last night, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced an emergency supplemental appropriations bill entitled the “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” to address the COVID-19 crisis. Interspersed among various health and economic stabilization measures, however, are several election-related mandates that would override state and local control of elections.  These include requirements to locate polling places within walking distance of public transportation, same-day voter registration, and the allowance of out-of-precinct voting. But Section 332(g)(2) reaches even further by requiring states to permit the practice of “ballot harvesting,” without any limitation on the number of ballots that may be collected:

Recently, Arizona election officials asked their Members of Congress to provide needed federal relief in order to carry out this year’s Presidential election with success. Those efforts are laudable and reasonable.  But it is important to understand what actual election-related measures have been inserted into draft congressional bills dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.  In these challenging times when federal relief is critical, it might be just as necessary for officials to tell Members of Congress what election measures Arizona does not need right now in order to keep the Congressional focus on more critical measures the state does need.

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