KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Democrats sue to kill WA’s one election security feature, which makes fraud easier

Jan 29, 2023, 6:01 PM | Updated: Jan 30, 2023, 9:41 am

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Unopened ballots await processing at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

A trio of left-wing organizations is suing Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, King County Elections Director Julie Wise, and two members of the King County canvassing board. The result of their lawsuit would make election theft virtually effortless, particularly for illegal immigrants or those taking advantage of the homeless.

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, Vet Voice Foundation, Washington Bus, and El Centro de la Raza quietly filed a lawsuit challenging signature verifications on ballots. They are represented by the Perkins Coie firm, counsel to the Democratic National Committee. Three King County voters also joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs.

Signature verification, mandated by Washington law, is the only mechanism an election office has to ensure that the ballot submitted was completed by the registered voter. But plaintiffs argue that the process is arbitrary, prone to errors, and disenfranchises young voters and minority groups.

Lawsuit angry plaintiff doesn’t know how to sign her name

One plaintiff, Daisha Britt apparently struggles to sign her name, though not due to any medical condition outlined in the lawsuit. Her lawyers merely describe her as a “Black, Native American, and White” local who “has a self-described ‘complicated signature'”. How is it complicated? They don’t say. Her name isn’t complicated to spell, indicating she chooses to make her signature unnecessarily complex. Or perhaps she never learned how to write in cursive.

“The Signature Matching Procedure also disproportionately disenfranchises voters of color. In the 2020 General Election, Latino, Black, and Asian voters had their ballots rejected at approximately double the rate of white voters,” the lawsuit alleges.

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This seems to imply that either signature verification staff purposefully target racial minorities by rejecting their signatures or that Latino, Asian, and Black voters aren’t capable of signing their names. It does not mention Native American voters, so perhaps the racist elections staff have a soft spot for tribes. Maybe Native Americans are more capable of signing their names, according to the plaintiffs.

Republicans push back

The lawsuit rejects the idea that signature matching helps keep elections secure while simultaneously noting “voter fraud is exceedingly rare in Washington.” But it’s rare, in large part, to signature verification, a point elections officials routinely argue.

“Once you are confirmed as registered to vote, and as not having turned in a ballot for this election, the signature on your return envelope is compared against the signature on your voter registration record. Without other changes, doing away with signature matching would mean that there isn’t that additional verification step,” a spokesperson for King County Elections explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Alarmed at the election security implications, the Washington State Republican Party and the Republican National Committee filed a motion to intervene. If granted, it would allow their lawyers to defend the election security process the plaintiffs seek to toss out.

“The signature verification process is literally, I would call it, the only safeguard we have in our elections right now,” Washington State Republican Party chair Caleb Heimlich explained on the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “When we’re mailing out 4.8 million ballots, and right now you have to sign the outside of the envelope, if that goes away, what is in place to verify the identity of the person sending the ballot back in is the person that intended to vote?”

Democrats would make election fraud easy

When you sign your name to the ballot envelope, you’re not just providing a signature to be verified. You’re also attesting that you’re not breaking the law by casting the ballot and that oath can be used against you in court if you break election laws. The attestation also affirms the voter is a citizen of the United States. To register to vote, you need a driver’s license. But in Washington, illegal immigrants can get a driver’s license without verification of citizenship. Couldn’t this be further abused by taking away a security mechanism?

There are countless examples of duplicate ballots being sent to the same voter due to human error after a name change, or address change. What if someone steals one of your ballots? A King County Elections spokesperson says they’d still only count one of the ballots, but there’s a hiccup: the actual voter better be the one to mail in the ballot first.

“With signature verification, though, we’d be able to look at those ballots, see if either or both signatures match what is on file, and then determine action from there, including potential referral to the Prosecuting Attorney if it looks like the envelope has been signed by someone other than the voter,” the spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Without signature verification, we wouldn’t be able to do that comparison and would accept the first ballot returned for the voter, and reject the second returned. We would no longer have the ability to determine if the second ballot likely came from the voter themselves or another person.”

Without the signature verification, I could steal plaintiff Britt’s ballot and mail it in without her knowing. When she eventually catches on and reports it, how would she prove to the election office that she wasn’t the one who mailed in the ballot in the first place?

More alarming is how easy this process would be to steal the ballots of homeless people, the elderly, or other vulnerable adults who might not even realize they’re victims of voter fraud and don’t have the means (or interest) to easily find out if someone was voting in their name. Most voters do not check to see if their ballot was mailed in, particularly if they didn’t personally vote. So they wouldn’t know if fraud took place and it would be impossible to track.

Democrats often brag about the safety of Washington’s elections. So why would they want to make an election less secure? Whatever their motivation, if they prevail, it will be easier to cheat in elections.

What could replace signature verification?

Washington state law still says elections officials would need to verify signatures, so a replacement mechanism would have to be introduced and approved by the state legislature. Ironically, it could involve another idea that Democrats loathe: voter ID. It would also be incredibly inconvenient.

“The focus would be on verifying the returned ballot, so something like dropping your ballot off in person and showing photo ID instead of signing the envelope could work,” the spokesperson said. “We know as a county of 1.4 million registered voters that just one way of doing things doesn’t work for everyone, so are interested in exploring other options with our voters. Ultimately, we would need the legislature to allow such pilot programs and then there would be lots of details to iron out around implementation.”

Would these left-wing groups be okay with voter ID laws? Of course not.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Democrats sue to kill WA’s one election security feature, which makes fraud easier