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VIP Response to GOP Misinformation

Dear Lawmakers,

It’s time to correct some misinformation on Ten-Percent Grange’s “Bipartisan” election bill (HB1169) and rethink the bill’s most dangerous features. Apparently the posts on our website about this problem were too complicated, so I’ll try to use smaller words.

Here’s the deal: If y’all don’t close the loopholes, tens of thousands of ballots will show up after the election and none of them will have postmarks.

Now, a recent House leader (or his staff) sent an unhinged email about our analysis. We say the bill gives counties enough money to use prepaid absentee ballot return envelopes. The member called our claim “completely false,” but then admitted, “prepaid postage is not included in HB 1169.”

Okay, by not including something, can we all agree that HB 1169 didn’t outlaw it?

Then, the email said prepaid postage is “currently prohibited by existing law.” Now we admit to having problems keeping up with all y’all’s crazy election law changes. It’s even harder when your Codification section is more than eight months behind. But, we’re scratching our heads. What “current” state law prohibits prepaid postage on ballot return envelopes?

Oh, and why did NCSBE Director, Karen Bell, beg y’all for money to cover prepaid postage in her March 26 to the Legislature? Did anybody tell her that prepaid postage was illegal? I guess not, cuz she asked for it again on April 22 (page 5). Why on earth would she request funds for an illegal action?

NC House poised to appease Democrats with HB 1169, the ballot-harvesting bill.

Even zanier, the email argued that counties “cannot use HAVA funds” for prepaid postage on the return envelopes. Says who?! Our attorneys were surprised that anyone even touching election law would think it’s illegal. In fact, our top attorney called it “common knowledge” in Washington and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission encourages prepaid postage, subject to “local budgetary rules.”

Maybe somebody got ruffled by Speaker Pelosi’s first COVID Act bill. She mandated $2 billion for states to send all voters and unrequested absentee ballot with prepaid return postage. Thankfully, Senate Leader McConnell, replaced the mandate with $400 million in emergency HAVA grants for the states. What else could “free absentee ballots” mean?

Now let’s return to that crazy email.

Your guy dismissed our security concerns for that online portal, basically by saying, “don’t you worry your purdy little head. We can track their IP address. Y’all even beefed up the bill to order “investigations” of any IP address requesting over ten ballots. Investigate what? It’s not a crime!

Look, if some activist with an iPad goes granny harvesting at nursing homes, election officials don’t need to investigate, because it’s not against the law! Why pretend it is?

 

But suppose it really was illegal. A trackable IP address? How naïve do y’all think we are?

Have you heard? Computers can now connect to that interweb thing through something called a “Virtual Private Network” (VPN) and that sucker lets you hide your IP address! Our data guys say it’s another one of those “common knowledge” things, I know . . . y’all’ve been busy. Here’s a link showing how it works. It might help you do government stuff from home.

Years ago, in Colorado, thousands of absentee ballots were requested by college kids, going door-to-door with a new iPad and if they met their quota, they could keep it.

Since bill doesn’t mention iPads or “prepaid postage,” how are they illegal?

Not to “scare the public,” but they need the cold hard facts about ballot harvesting in the 2018 elections. California’s Orange County Republican congressional candidates had seven winners on Election Day but they all lost after 250,000 ballots arrived without postmarks.

Back in North Carolina, more than one lawmaker has reminded me that ballots postmarked after Election Day are not counted under state law. Really? Then tell me, what happens when 250,000 harvested ballots show up after Election Day without postmarks? How soon will some federal judge order them all counted?

We can help your staff fix the postmark problem, but the online portal . . . ?

In the infamous words of John Wayne, “you can’t fix stupid.”

For the team…

jd