Washington Sec. of State: Onslaught of election lawsuits could cause ‘significant damage’

Sep 22, 2021, 1:43 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2021, 6:31 am

Vote by mail, ballots, election stress, lawsuits...

Trays of ballots in King County. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Lawsuits filed in three Washington counties allege that ballots were manipulated during the state’s 2020 election. With claims of election fraud continuing to escalate among Republicans across the country, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman spoke to KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show to express concerns over what’s quickly become the “new normal.”

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The effort is being led by a group known as Washington Election Integrity Coalition United (WEiCU), which has been working for months to rally supporters across the state. WEiCU alleges that thousands of Washington votes in 2020 were flipped from a third party to Joe Biden, and that auditors in select counties made use of unlicensed voting equipment.

With lawsuits like these “moving into the strategic part of campaigning in the modern era,” Wyman worries that there could be “significant damage” to the nation’s democratic process if the trend continues.

“I’m very concerned because it just continuously undermines and questions the validity of our election system,” she noted. “It concerns me because people start losing faith in our election system, they start losing faith that the people who are elected in that system are legitimate, and it undermines the representative form of government that we have here in this country.”

On its website, WEiCU claims that Washington’s mail-in ballots have “cost us elections that are transparent, trackable, secure and publicly verified,” and that “the mail in ballot system has zero chain of custody.”

Wyman takes issue with both of those allegations, touting the state’s election system as one of the safest in the country.

“We create an audit trail for every election,” she pointed out. “We create a chain of custody for every ballot that each county receives back from a voter — it’s a transparent process.”

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Perhaps more concerning for her, though, is that fact that frequent claims of fraud — as well as vitriol directed toward election officials — are driving out workers who are integral to safeguarding the democratic process.

“I think the hardest thing right now is that we’re seeing election officials across the country who are leaving the profession,” Wyman said. “The very things that prompted them to enter the profession was to protect our democracy, to protect our democratic institutions. And to have a constant drumbeat that you’re cheating or somehow rigging it, after a while you just go, ‘why am I even doing this?'”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Washington Sec. of State: Onslaught of election lawsuits could cause ‘significant damage’