Paul Ryan is pointing out the issues with the California voting system.
Many California GOP candidates discovered that their leads completely disappeared days after the polls had closed due to provisional ballot counts. During an event with the Washington Post, Ryan questioned the voting system.
“It defies logic to me,” Ryan said to the Washington Post. “We had a lot of wins that night, and three weeks later we lost basically every contested California race. This election system they have, I can’t begin to understand what ballot harvesting is.”
The state allows for same-day voter registration and also used ballot harvesting for the first time during the midterm elections. This means that a third party collected ballots and then gave them to election officials.
Paul Ryan: "California just defies logic to me… We were only down 26 seats the night of the election & 3 weeks later, we lost basically every contested CA race. This election system they have – I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is." https://t.co/usf6KWIfDb pic.twitter.com/qUym7Ucrq8
— The Hill (@thehill) November 29, 2018
While Ryan is not accusing anyone of wrongdoing, he did call out the way that the system works.
“The way the absentee ballot program used to work and works now, it just seems pretty loosey-goose. Point being, when you have candidates that win the absentee ballot vote, win the day of the vote and then lose three weeks later because of provisionals, that’s really bizarre. And so I just think that’s a very, very strange outcome. When you win the absentee ballots and you win the in-person vote, where I come from, you win the election.”
California election official Alex Padilla fired back at Ryan’s comments, saying that despite the fact that the state took a long time to count votes, that is not cause for criticism.
— Alex Padilla (@AlexPadilla4CA) November 29, 2018
“It shouldn’t ‘defy logic’ that elections officials are meticulous in counting every eligible ballot,” Padilla said to the Mercury News of San Jose. “California works to ensure every ballot is counted properly and every ballot is accounted for. In the most populous state in the nation — and the state with the largest number of registered voters — this takes time.”
It is uncertain if the state will continue to use ballot harvesting in future elections.