Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a new bill to ban ballot harvesting in federal elections and protect election integrity in response to disputes during the 2020 presidential election. Senator Hawley’s bill would improve the ability of campaigns to observe vote counting operations, require mail-in or absentee ballots to be counted and recorded immediately, and require that ballot counting, once begun, continue until completed.
"The debacle of the 2020 election has made clear that serious reforms are needed to protect the integrity of our elections. The American people deserve transparency—that means banning ballot harvesting, empowering poll watchers, and taking steps to ensure that all legally cast ballots are accounted for. The confusion and controversy of this past week is not acceptable, Congress must take action."Senator Josh Hawley
Senator Hawley’s bill would:
- Ban ballot harvesting in federal elections and incentivize states to do the same.
- Require that at least two representatives of each campaign be permitted to observe polls and vote counting operations.
- Require mail-in or absentee ballots to be counted and recorded immediately upon receipt, with no results to be disclosed until after the closure of polling places on the date of an election.
- Require that ballot counting, once begun, continue until completed—no delays or pauses except in the event of imminent emergency.
- Require states to maintain round-the-clock video surveillance monitoring of absentee ballot drop boxes, with unedited footage to be made available upon request to members of the public at no charge.
- Impose requirements, adapted from existing Florida law, that mandate the auditing of voting systems and the reporting in advance of preparations made for upcoming general elections.