Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) unveiled legislation on Tuesday that would ban ballot harvesting in federal elections and secure the country’s electoral system.
“The debacle of the 2020 election has made clear that serious reforms are needed to protect the integrity of our elections,” Hawley said in a statement.
Hawley’s legislation arises as President Donald Trump and Republicans have raised concerns about ballot fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Hawley’s legislation would:
- Ban ballot harvesting in federal elections and encourage states to do the same at the local level.
- Require at least two representatives to be allowed to observe polls and vote counting.
- Require mail-in or absentee ballots to be counted and recorded immediately upon receipt.
- Require that ballot counting must continue until completion.
- Require states to maintain video surveillance of absentee ballot drop boxes.
- Adapt Florida law to require auditing of voting systems ahead of general elections.
Hawley promised to take action shortly after the president raised questions about potential election fraud:
If last 24 hrs have made anything clear, it’s that we need new election integrity laws NOW. Ban ballot harvesting, guarantee poll watcher access, make ballot counting transparent. I will introduce
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 5, 2020
Hawley told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson last week that ballot harvesting should be illegal because it is “rife with abuse.” He said:
It also means things like ballot harvesting, Tucker — where you pay a third-party to go collect ballots and bring them in. That ought to be illegal in the United States of America. Let’s ban ballot harvesting right now. It is rife with abuse. It is inviting abuse. These are the kind of reforms that we need to pursue. But right now, right this very instant, there needs to be total transparency in this process. And I’ve got to tell you — when you see some states going to court to try and stop poll watchers, people just observing the ballot counts, I mean, that is deeply, deeply disturbing.
“The American people deserve transparency — that means banning ballot harvesting, empowering poll watchers, and taking steps to ensure that all legally cast ballots are accounted for,” Hawley concluded in his statement on Tuesday. “The confusion and controversy of this past week is not acceptable, Congress must take action.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.