Breaking News
More () »

CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Count me in: What is ballot harvesting and is it common?

People will have the option to drop of their ballot or vote in person as well.

SAN DIEGO — With the election now just seven weeks away, the potential for voter fraud continues to be a major concern. That led to these questions from a News 8 viewer: "What is ballot harvesting? Is it allowed and is it conducive to fraud"?

Ballot harvesting is when a person agrees to turn in another voter's ballot - either by mailing it or taking it to a designated drop off location, like the Registrar of Voter's main office in Kearny Mesa.

President Trump tweeted back in April, “Get rid of ballot harvesting. It is rampant with fraud.” 

Those who agree with him said the problem is that every registered voter in California is being mailed a ballot for the November election, including people who had no intention or interest in voting. 

“Now, imagine the incentive there for political operatives to go door-to-door and ask for people's ballot and potentially offer a monetary reward - $20 - or something like that,” said Morgan Kimbarow, President of San Diego Young Republicans.

In California, ballots must be sealed and signed by the voter. While it is legal for campaigns to collect ballots door-to-door, it is illegal for anyone to tamper with those votes. 

“Fear is high in terms of voter fraud. Evidence of actual voter fraud is low,” said Political Analyst Laura Fink.

Fink approves of California's plan to mail all registered voters a ballot - especially when we're in the middle of a pandemic. 

“There are five states that vote almost completely by mail, including Republican Utah and we haven't seen issues crop up there since and many of them have had their systems for years," said Fink.

There has been one documented incident of harvesting fraud. It happened in North Carolina back in 2018. 

“[It was] an isolated incident that is extraordinarily rare and he got caught,” Fink said.

Meanwhile, Kimbarow is also concerned that ballots will be going to homes where people have moved or died, creating more opportunities for fraud. He’s also concerned about the heavy load on the postal service to handle such a huge influx of ballots that must be delivered in a timely manner. 

“I want a system where it's being decided in a democratic process," said Kimbarow.

Registrar Michael Vu has stated several times that signature verifications will be used to ensure only valid votes are counted and he’s added that you can track your ballot to make sure it was counted.