After GOP candidates won in districts where they competed with Democrats' ballot-harvesting operations in the midterms, Republicans are increasingly willing to embrace the strategy long shunned by their party, the Washington Times reported on Wednesday.
Republicans have long claimed that ballot harvesting — when a third party collects completed ballots from voters and then delivers them in bulk to election officials — is ripe for fraud and have rejected it.
But California Republican Reps. Mike Garcia and Michelle Steele won earlier this month with the aid of successful ballot harvesting strategies used by their campaigns, arguing that it made no sense to reject the practice while allowing Democrats to take advantage of it.
Garcia explained to the Washington Times that ballot harvesting is the final piece of an ongoing strategy of voter contact, saying "it's not necessarily about harvesting, it's about getting the vote."
He added that "we have multiple drop boxes, obviously, throughout the county that serve as very effective ways to have people drop off their ballot in a very convenient way."
Others in the GOP backed the techniques, with Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk writing on Twitter that "the House of Representatives is GOP-controlled thanks to how we performed in states with the most liberal ballot harvesting and vote-by-mail laws — New York, Oregon, California. We can master this system. Democrats are praying that we refuse to try."
He added, "I miss politics where the better arguments and the hardest working candidates won elected office. Now it's a matter of which political machine can capture the most ballots in a 30-day window. So be it, we will now have to beat the left at the game."
A Republican National Committee spokesman said it is maintaining its policy against ballot harvesting but told the Washington Times that "Republicans also know we must play by the rules set out by each state and will leave no stone unturned to win as many races as possible up and down the ballot."
American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp also encouraged Republicans to engage in ballot harvesting where the practice is legal if that is the only way to defeat Democrats, saying "It's kind of like a business that deals with a corrupt tax code. It can yell about the tax code … but in the end, it has to follow the tax code and take advantage of the tax code. And even businesses that take advantage of tax deductions they find abhorrent and immoral, but they still do it."
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