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Newsom recall organizers wary of obscure online ballot option

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 8/12/2021 Tori Richards
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The group behind the campaign to recall California's embattled governor has expressed its concerns over an obscure provision that allows voters to print their own ballots at home, arguing it could potentially pave the way for voter fraud.

A recent poll shows about 50% of likely California voters support the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom. Orrin Heatlie, the chairman of the California Patriot Coalition to Recall Gavin Newsom, said his group could mount a legal challenge if an unexpected eleventh-hour surge brings Newsom over the finish line.

CALIFORNIA RECALL CANDIDATES UNITE IN DISLIKE OF NEWSOM

Heatlie and his team are eyeing the provision that lets voters print out ballots from the comfort of their own homes, something that was enacted last year right before the general election. At that same time, the California Legislature mandated a mass mailing of ballots to all voters.

Gavin Newsom wearing a suit and tie: Calling President Donald Trump "completely corrupt" California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Trump should be removed from office by Congress, during an interview in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. But Newsom said that with Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate the best way to boot Trump from office is at the ballot box. Rich Pedroncelli/AP © Provided by Washington Examiner Calling President Donald Trump "completely corrupt" California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Trump should be removed from office by Congress, during an interview in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. But Newsom said that with Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate the best way to boot Trump from office is at the ballot box. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

“All the mail-in ballots weren’t good enough, and they had to go and take that extra step,” Heatlie said. “We are working very closely with the Election Integrity Project [watchdog group] to monitor all voting processes. We are absolutely going to look closely at things like that which are suspicious.”

A day after the Washington Examiner sent two unanswered emails requesting comment on the program, the secretary of state released a set of online ballot guidelines to every voter registrar in the state. The guidelines require voters to attest that they are registered and will return the ballots before polls close on Sept. 14 or place them in the mail. It also states that online ballot selections will be transferred to an official ballot by election workers.

Heatlie became aware of the RemoteAccessible Vote By Mail system this week. The program has not received much publicity beyond a press release from 2017, when it was created strictly for active military and overseas voters. A few other states, such as Washington and Maryland, have similar programs.

Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said about 1,000 people used RAVBM last year. He expects only a 30-40% turnout for the recall, so the number of people utilizing the system next month will be far less.

Kelley said most people don’t know about RAVBM, so he sent out a voter postcard recently with the information. Every election, he receives phone calls from voters who lost their ballots or accidentally threw them away.

“I think the reasoning behind it was concern about pockets of delivery issues where people don’t get their ballots in the mail,” he told the Washington Examiner.

When questioned about whether people could vote twice or canvassers could print out ballots for an entire neighborhood, Kelley said the system will void the paper ballot if an online ballot is printed. Voters need to enter their driver's license information and date of birth to receive an online ballot, which prevents anyone from accessing batches of ballots, he said.

Despite these safeguards, RAVMB remains a tool used to ramp up aggressive Democratic ballot harvesters, said election attorney and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Meuser. A notable case was Republican House member Young Kim, who had a sizable lead during the 2018 election but lost overnight when harvesters dumped thousands of ballots in Orange County.

Meuser said he has heard of canvassers knocking on the same doors up to 10 times.

“Anyone who has thrown away their ballot and suddenly decided to vote, it’s not because they are a patriot. It’s because they are under undue influence by an individual,” Meuser said. “When you ask for a RAVMB ballot, I can only think of one person doing that. Someone under duress by a political party or union to vote. That should be concerning to all Californians.”

Republican state Sen. Jim Nielsen questioned why the secretary of state hasn’t promoted the program if it’s such a necessity.

“It’s another facilitation of garnering Democratic votes in a stealth manner,” he said. “The Democratic Party will go to any length to ensure their dominance.”

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Newsom has faced sinking popularity numbers since last year, when Californians grew angry about an endless lockdown, keeping children out of classrooms, and a botched coronavirus vaccine rollout. Recall organizers collected more than 1.5 million signatures from Republicans, Democrats, and independents to qualify for the special election in which 46 candidates are running.

 

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Tags: News, Gavin Newsom, Campaigns, California, Voting, Voter Fraud, Voter ID Laws, Technology

Original Author: Tori Richards

Original Location: Newsom recall organizers wary of obscure online ballot option

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