Ruth Weiss, Vice-president of the Election Integrity Project of California, addressed the Coronado Roundtable at its June meeting conducted online by ZOOM. Weiss warned of the potential risks to the integrity of our elections posed by mail voting due mainly to the excessive amount of handling that the ballots are exposed to, loose regulations regarding ballot collection, (ballot harvesting) and duplicate mailings, among other issues. She urged her audience to spread the word about the need to stay informed regarding election integrity issues and to volunteer their services by contacting the registrar of voters.

Advocates for permitting everyone to vote by mail frequently claim that there is no evidence of widespread fraud associated with this method of voting. They are mistaken, said Ms. Weiss. The project’s election observers, acting as whistleblowers operating under penalty of perjury, have reported numerous cases of voting irregularities. California’s voter rolls are not well-maintained, she says, and contain numerous examples of, among other things, duplications and voters who are older than 105 and probably deceased. Almost anyone, including non-citizens with green cards, may be allowed to harvest (collect) ballots and submit them later or perhaps not at all, she said. They may even offer to provide assistance in completing ballots. Assisted living facilities, for example, are particularly vulnerable to such practices. There may be no formal chain of custody when ballots are collected in this manner.

Irregularities can also occur in the counting process and in resolving errors, both of which are more common in voting by mail than in person. If bulk mail with prepaid postage is used, there is no postmark date to determine when the ballot was actually mailed. In short, when a person mails a ballot or it is harvested, the voter has no positive assurance that it will be counted, said the speaker. Voting in person is less susceptible to problems but finding polling places centrally located and large enough to accommodate social distancing plus finding enough election workers to staff them may be problematic.

The Election Integrity Project of California is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization dedicated to observation, research and legislative oversight of elections. It has trained over 11,000 observers who deploy directly to polling places all over the state to observe all aspects of the election process including the tabulation of votes. Its observers can file reports of violations and irregularities under penalty of perjury and provide periodic reports to the public. It has testified before the Civil Rights Commission and researches voter rolls regularly to help ensure they accurately contain those entitled to vote.

The speaker was introduced by Roundtable President Kirk Henry who presided. The Coronado Roundtable presents prominent speakers on a variety of topics at its monthly meetings on the fourth Friday of every month except December. The November meeting is held on the third Friday owing to Thanksgiving weekend. Meetings begin at 10 a.m. and are normally held in the Winn Room of the Coronado Public Library and the public is cordially invited. During the pandemic restrictions, however, all meetings are being conducted by ZOOM.

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