‘Under surveillance’ ballot-box signs likely voter intimidation, officials say

Jul 20, 2022, 12:13 PM


Photo from KIRO 7

Some Seattle-area voters noticed something unusual over the weekend when they put their ballots in drop boxes: signs with bright red ink that read “this ballot drop box is under surveillance.”

King County elections officials are now saying that these signs are “intimidation” and are having the sheriff’s office investigate the signs. Full-on voter intimidation tactics are illegal.

Along with that foreboding message, there is text citing a state code: “accepting compensation for harvesting or depositing ballots may be a violation of Federal Law,” and a QR code posted underneath those words takes you to the incident reporting form on the King County Republican Party website.

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“King County Elections will not stand for intimidation or scare tactics. I believe this is a targeted, intentional strategy to intimidate and dissuade voters from using secure ballot drop boxes. My team is not going to stand by and allow any group to seed fear and doubt amongst our residents and voters, especially when they are simply trying to make their voices heard,” said Julie Wise, Director of King County Elections.

Michael Patrick Thomas, Chair of the King County Republican Party, said party officials were unaware of the signs, which were created by a “self-appointed committee, which calls itself the KCGOP Election Integrity Committee, has acted outside of its authority and without the express knowledge, permission, or consent of the King County Republican Party.”

The committee, headed by Republican activist and State Representative candidate for Washington state’s 45th district Amber Krabach, was dissolved after the incident.

Wise said her team is documenting and removing the signs and any information about who placed them is being referred to the sheriff’s office.

King County Elections has also asked the Prosecutor’s office to review the legality of the signs.

“Under state law, it is a crime to intimidate voters in an effort to discourage them from depositing their ballots in a drop box. Under federal law, it is a crime whenever two or more people conspire to prevent or discourage people from exercising their constitutional right to vote,” a news release from King County Elections said.

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‘Under surveillance’ ballot-box signs likely voter intimidation, officials say