October 21, 2020

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Rhode Island’s Senior Ballot Harvest

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A voter, left, places a ballot in a secure box as a Providence city clerk, right, looks on in Providence, R.I., June 2.


Steven Senne/Associated Press

Rhode Island holds its legislative primary on Tuesday, and already there are allegations of ballot harvesting and election fraud—by a Democrat against another Democrat.

In July Rhode Island entered a consent decree with progressive groups suspending its legal requirement that voters complete mail-in ballots before two witnesses or a notary. Liberal groups claimed the state law could endanger the health of the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions because they might have to invite outsiders into their homes to vote.

Republicans challenged the consent decree, which they claimed would facilitate ballot fraud. The First Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, and the Supreme Court last month refused to intervene. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have stayed the decree.

Fast forward a few weeks, and progressive state Sen. Sam Bell is accusing his primary challenger, Providence City Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan, of election fraud and preying on seniors. Rhode Island lets voters who miss the deadline to apply for mail-in ballots to authorize a surrogate to pick up and return a ballot for them.

Mr. Bell claims his opponent has been going around a Providence public housing complex for the elderly and asking residents for authorization to pick up their ballots without disclosing her identity. He says Ms. Ryan and her campaign operatives have then assisted elderly with filling out and returning their ballots.

“The practice of targeting the residents of elderly low-income housing complexes and pushing them to sign forms allowing campaigns to pick up ballots for them is at best concerning and at worst deeply immoral,” Mr. Bell said last week. “During this pandemic, it is especially concerning because flooding these buildings with canvassers places the residents at risk of Covid-19 infection.”

Ms. Ryan told the Providence Journal that her campaign is merely trying “to help people vote” and “explain to them what their options were.” No doubt.

To sum up: Liberals push to relax rules protecting ballot integrity on the pretext of protecting society’s vulnerable from Covid-19. Then they target the elderly to harvest ballots. House Democrats want to mandate this nationwide.

The president’s remarks on mail-in ballots have forced the mainstream media to confront the very real prospect of delay and confusion on election night. Images: AFP via Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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2020-09-07 18:41:00

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