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California reminder leaves unanswered questions about stray ballots

The California recall is over, and the margin of victory for the “no” was so huge it overshadowed the effect of any voting irregularities that might have occurred. But questions remain about the state’s postal ballot system, which sent ballots to every registered voter, whether or not they had requested a mail-in ballot in the past.

Some ineligible out-of-state voters received ballots; others received additional newsletters – sometimes several of them – addressed to other people.

This reporter personally witnessed one such case, at the home of a friend who had received a ballot for another person who had not lived at that particular address for at least ten years. Upon further investigation, I learned that others had received “ten to fifteen” such bulletins.

There did not appear to be any particular partisan bias in spurious ballots and, in theory, voter fraud laws should discourage most people from handing out other people’s ballots.

However, the fact that so many people appear to have received other people’s ballots, or ballots that they themselves were not entitled to vote, seemed to undermine public confidence in the elections. And we don’t know how big the problem is.

There are five states where postal voting is already automatic, including conservative Utah (and California may soon make this system, adopted during the pandemic, permanent). But California is much bigger, and its voter lists are in disrepair – the worst, perhaps, of the 50 states. And California allows uncontrolled people to return an unlimited number of other people’s ballots – something called the “ballot harvest.”

The combination of flawed voters lists, a massive electorate, universal postal voting and ballot harvesting is a recipe for mistrust. There’s no evidence large-scale fraud – but there is suspicion. Why, for example, did a man have 300 ballots in his car when he was arrested for guns and drugs last month?

These concerns will linger long after the final recall ballot, as Democrats push for California-style voting for the rest of the nation in the name of “voting rights.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent eBook Ni Free ni Fair: The 2020 US Presidential Election. His latest book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni scholarship recipient. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.