By – Keith M. Zwingelberg MD
*The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AMAC, AMAC Action, or the AMAC Foundation.*
The “Ground Game” and turning-out-the-voter is the key to winning elections. The opposition: Be they liberals, globalists, socialists, democrats, anarchists or the Left have often times had better Ground Games than America First candidates.
Democrats coordinated at the national level. Republicans tend to be state oriented. We all have our favorite candidates. But all conservative, America First voters agree that President Biden should not be reelected in 2024. The 2024 Presidential election, along with control of the U. S. Congress and many state and local races, will be determined in six to nine swing states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.
It is imperative that we do all in our power to get-out-the-vote. “Ballot Harvesting” is illegal, per se, in some states but the reality is that helping voters to get their vote cast is allowable in most states. In the following paragraphs I will begin to delineate what the laws in these nine states say about what can and cannot be done to assist in turning out the conservative, America First voters.
No states, where family membersare allowed to assist absentee voters, do the laws prohibit out-of-state family membersfrom assisting in the voting process. In many instances the mere offer to transport individual voters to the polling location, during early voting or on election day, may be the best alternative.
As of March 2023, the online site Ballot harvesting laws by state – Ballotpedia helps navigate the legalities in individual states. On that site, and in state laws annotated here, are the salient points on assisting voters.
Arizona allows family members, household members, or caregiversto return voter’s absentee ballots. Arizona 16-1005 – Ballot abuse; violation; classification. “(a) “Caregiver” means a person who provides medical or health care assistance to the voter in a residence, nursing care institution, hospice facility, assisted living center, assisted living facility, assisted living home, residential care institution, adult day health care facility, or adult foster care home…(c) “Family member” means a person who is related to the voter by blood, marriage, adoption or legal guardianship. (d) “Household member” means a person who resides at the same residence as the voter.” Pay close attention to loved ones in long-term care facilities – there have been reports nationally about so-called caregivers “assisting” confused residents in voting that has disenfranchised the voter and led to fraud.
Ohio is straight forward. Family members in Ohio under the 2022 Ohio Revised Code Section 3509.05 can return an absentee ballot for a voter. “The elector shall mail the identification envelope to the director for whom is was received in the return envelope, postage prepaid, or the elector may personally deliver it to the director, or the spouse of the elector, the father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, or the whole or half blood, or the son, daughter, adopting parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the elector may deliver it to the director.”
North Carolina allows a near relative or legal guardian to return a voter’s absentee ballot. The absentee ballot “shall be transmitted by mail or by commercial courier service, at the voter’s expense, or delivered in person, or by the voter’s near relative or verifiable legal guardian…“
Georgia allows voters with physical disability to have their absentee ballot returned by a family member or household member. Definitions similar to Arizona and Ohio. 2014 Georgia Code Article 10 – ABSENTEE VOTING 21-2-385 – Procedure for voting by absentee ballot; advance voting.
Michigan permits a household member or a family member…to return a voter’s absentee ballot. Michigan Election Law Act 116 of 1954 168.764a “Step 5. Deliver the return envelope by…deposit it in the United States mail or…personally to the office of the clerk, to the clerk, or to an authorized assistant of the clerk, or to a secure drop box located in the city or township.” Again, definitions similar to Arizona and Ohio law.
Nevada allows a person authorized by the voter to return a mail ballot at the request of the voter. NRS 293.269923 “1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, at the request of a voter whose mail ballot has been prepared by or on behalf of the voter, a person authorized by the voter may return the mail ballot of the voter by mail or personal delivery to the county clerk, or any ballot drop box.”
Virginia allows a designated representative to return an emergency ballot for a voter who is incapacitated or hospitalized. The law in Virginia is restrictive and the representative must complete a statement under penalty of law.
Pennsylvania law allows application for an absentee ballot under Pennsylvania Statutes Title 25 P.S. Election & Electoral Districts 3146.2a. Date of application for absentee ballot. A voter who qualifies for an “emergency absentee ballot” may authorize in writing a representative to return their ballot. “Multiple people qualified under this subsection may designate the same person, and a single person may serve as the authorized representative for multiple qualified electors.”
Wisconsin law, at present, does not specify if another individual may return ballots for state voters.
It’s been estimated that only 44,000 votes in 2020 gave President Biden Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin. Just over another 250,000 votes gave him Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. Let’s get those swing state votes for conservative, America First candidates in 2024.