Take, for example, the race between former Republican Rep. David Valadao and Democrat T. J. Cox in California’s rural 21st district. When polls closed, Valadao led Cox by 6,000 votes — or 8 percent. That margin was wide enough for media outlets to call the race for Valadao.
However, late ballots delivered by third-party groups broke so heavily for Cox that he ultimately eked out an 843-vote victory. The results after ballot harvesting were very different from the polling before the race and since. In a July 2019 NRCC survey, Cox was polling at just 36 percent, while 52 percent said they would support “a potential Republican challenger.” Valadao has since filed for a rematch.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that elsewhere in the state, Orange County voters on election night 2018 were calling the registrar’s office asking if it was legitimate for someone to come to their door and ask if they could take their ballot.
Who was coming to the door? According to a January 2019 Los Angeles Times story, illegal Dreamers were deeply engaged in the process — not just delivering ballots, but helping voters fill them out.