Donald Trump, ahead of his Waco, Texas rally, stressed on the need of ballot harvesting. The former President is expected to speak about his views on the same.

Trump has been vocally against mail-in and early voting. As the crowd at his rally waited, a video of the former President was aired. He was seen saying that his campaign is going to engage in “ballot harvesting” in states where it’s still legal.

“We start ballot harvesting or we say goodbye to our country.”

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What is ballot harvesting?

Ballot harvesting is the gathering and submitting of completed absentee or mail-in voter ballots by third-party individuals, volunteers or workers, rather than submission by voters themselves directly to ballot collection sites.

Some argue that it provides assistance to marginalized groups, while others fear that it could lead to tampering or discarding of ballots. The debate around ballot harvesting has intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the expected increase in absentee voting.

Twenty-six states allow a voter to designate someone to return their ballot. However, a dozen of those states limit the number of ballots that the designee can collect, and ten states only allow family members to return the ballot. 

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In California, any person can collect an absentee ballot, but payment based on the number of ballots collected is prohibited. Pennsylvania does not allow ballot collection, but there are no clear laws around ballot drop boxes.

Supporters argue that ballot harvesting expands voting access for seniors, disabled citizens, low-income groups, and Native Americans. However, critics warn of the risk of abuse and interference, leading to a lack of trust in the electoral process. 

Advocates suggest that staff and volunteers from political parties should collect ballots to ensure accountability and transparency.

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The debate over ballot harvesting continues to divide opinions. Supporters believe it expands access to voting, while critics warn of its potential for abuse. While some states have passed laws to regulate the practice, others still have a lot of gray areas. It remains to be seen how the issue will be addressed in the future.