I emailed Democratic attorney David McDonald for some comments on the outcome of the GOP’s voter registration challenge, and he cut straight to the point.
No matter how you cut it, this is incredibly sloppy work by Sotelo and her gang. About 80% of the challenges that they pursued to hearing in the last ten days were rejected [or withdrawn] for lack of adequate proof. On top of that are all the rest of the challenges that they withdrew before the hearing but after they forced the voter to use a challenged ballot.
They have consumed a lot of public money, time and employee resources with this wave of last minute challenges. It is unclear that the result is any different than if they had taken Dean Logan up on his offer to check any list that they gave him rather than filing mass challenges, other than they have spent much more taxpayer money.
Out of 1944 challenges filed with great fanfare just days before the November 8 election, only 58 ballots have been disqualified… less than 3 percent. Meanwhile, hundreds of legal voters have been wrongly inconvenienced and harassed, all so the GOP could make a political point.
And a cheap, weak political point it was… though of course, that didn’t stop state GOPolitburo chair Chris Vance from repeating it in the wake of their disastrous voter intimidation scheme:
“Even though our challenges have been formally rejected, we have achieved our objective,” he said. “The objective remains the same as it’s always been: to persuade King County to clean up its process and clean up its voter rolls.”
So let me just take a moment to say something that I’m sure a lot of people in the elections office and the Democratic Party are thinking, but that is too impolitic for most people to say out loud: Hey Chris… fuck you!
King County has been doing its job maintaining the voter rolls since long before Vance and Lori Sotelo filed their cynical, bogus challenges. That’s not just my conclusion… that’s the conclusion of the Republican Secretary of State’s office, and of every county auditor contacted for comment by the Seattle P-I.
Republican charges that the King County elections office doesn’t police voter-registration addresses closely enough are unreasonable, the state elections director says.
“It’s a pretty high burden to place on a county, especially a county the size of King,” Nick Handy said Monday.
Snohomish County doesn’t screen registrations for nonresidential addresses. Neither does Island County. And neither does Republican Chelan County.
Evelyn Arnold is the auditor in Chelan County, overseeing a little more than 36,000 registered voters (outside of King County, elected auditors run the county elections departments). A Republican, she testified in May as the leadoff witness for the GOP in its legal challenge to the 129-vote victory of Democrat Christine Gregoire in the 2004 governor’s race. [...] Arnold said this week that her office does not systematically investigate residence addresses or other information on registration applications.
“When people come in to register, we take their word,” she said. “They have signed an affidavit (the registration form), and we take their word for it.
“We don’t cross-examine,” she said. “We can’t, really. We don’t have the authority to do that, in my opinion.”
If an employee in her office recognizes a residence address as bogus or if that information comes to her from outside, Arnold said, she’ll look into it — but she said she’s loath to eliminate a registration on that basis.
“We don’t want to disenfranchise any voter because their address is suspect,” she said.
Spokane did recently create a database to screen registrations, but only after they dealt with more important priorities. And according to Audtior Vicky Dalton, they only check addresses after voters have been placed on the rolls.
“We do not deny registration based on that address,” she said. “We take the registration, and then we work to clean it up.”
Why didn’t Vance and the GOP go after these other counties? And why, after all their efforts, were they able to disqualify such a small number of voters — otherwise eligible, and mostly due to technical errors in their registration? Because KCRE was doing its job as required by statute, and consistent with the procedures in every other county in the state.
The only thing this incident proves is that the state GOP, under Vance’s direction, is willing to do and say anything for a perceived political advantage… even if it means unfairly maligning innocent people, and disenfranchising legal voters.