Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Denver Riggleman (VA-5)
Washington, D.C. — Today Congressman Denver Riggleman co-sponsored H.R. 8285, the Election Fraud Prevention Act, in an effort to improve the security of the mail-in ballot process and safeguard the 2020 election. This bipartisan legislation was introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02) and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) in response to the threat of third-party ballot collection, or “ballot harvesting” by special interest groups which seek to interfere with voters’ ballots.
The Election Fraud Prevention Act would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit payments to states which permit ballot harvesting, subject to exceptions. Additionally, the bill would create exceptions for voters seeking to submit their mail-in ballots by third party to only be assisted by an election official or a USPS mail carrier acting in their official capacities, as well as family members or caregivers.
“I am committed to ensuring that every registered voter has the ability to cast their vote in the upcoming election. We cannot allow third-party actors to jeopardize our right to vote. I am proud to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring this bill to prevent third-party interference,” said Congressman Riggleman.
“Whether in the midst of a pandemic where mail-in voting is likely to drastically increase, or in a normal election, no one should get in between a voter and the ballot box. While some states have prohibited vote harvesting, many states lack any regulations that would stop third-parties from fraudulently collecting and mishandling ballots as has occurred in recent elections. Our bipartisan bill incentivizes states to take action and prevent any political parties or any third-party special interest groups from interfering with our sacred right to vote,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
“Banning ballot harvesting shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” said Rep. Rodney Davis. “Allowing any individual, including political operatives, to pick up multiple voters’ ballots and deliver them to a polling location undermines the integrity of our elections. We’ve seen ballot harvesting widely used in states like California and a recent court case in North Carolina outlined the clear opportunities for fraud and coercion with the ballot harvesting process. This bipartisan bill will encourage states to ban this process that is ripe for fraud and is a major threat to the integrity of our elections.”
This bill would incentivize states to take an active role in preventing any political parties or special interest groups from getting between American voters and their ballots. The strength of our democracy lies in the integrity of safe, free and fair elections. A major part of this is having the necessary regulation in place to stop any ballot harvesting which would seek to undermine our election security.
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked notable concerns regarding the safety of our federal elections. Congressman Riggleman has previously supported legislation that makes necessary adjustments to our elections systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rep. Riggleman voted for H.R. 3548 – the CARES Act, which allotted $400 million to help states make necessary changes to their election operations.
In Virginia, the 2020 Session of the General Assembly passed legislation, signed by Governor Northam, to make notable changes to the Commonwealth’s absentee ballot system. These changes include voting absentee without an excuse, prepaid postage for return envelopes, and adjusting the deadlines for applying for and returning absentee ballots.
Virginia law currently allows early-in person voting and absentee voting, both of which provide options to vote while prioritizing social distancing measures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Every Virginian must have an opportunity to cast their ballot safely this fall. For more information on voting absentee, early in-person voting, or to track your ballot in the mail, click here. To find your local voter registration office, visit elections.virginia.gov.