If voter fraud is as rampant in Washington state as Republicans like to say it is, then Secretary of State Sam Reed might want to rethink his enforcement priorities.
From: Ammons, Dave
Subject: `Voting service’
Cc: “Blinn, Katie”, “Handy, Nick”, “Zylstra, Brian”
Date: Monday, October 25, 2010, 11:06 AM
Please take down your blog post on Voting Service. I assume this is satire, but our Elections Division reminds that you could be charged with a crime:
This is illegal:
RCW 29A.84.610 Deceptive, incorrect vote recording.
A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who knowingly:
(1) Deceives any voter in recording his or her vote by providing incorrect or misleading recording information or by providing faulty election equipment or records; or
(2) Records the vote of any voter in a manner other than as designated by the voter.
Such a gross misdemeanor is punishable to the same extent as a gross misdemeanor that is punishable under RCW 9A.20.021.
We are pretty sensitive about talk of ballot selling, etc. And of course the ballot would never be counted, because the signature would not match the one on file for the voter. But attempted vote fraud can be penalized by a prison sentence and a big fine.
If you have any questions, please contact Katie Blinn, assistant director of elections and an attorney, 360-902-4168.
Office of Secretary of State
Um… really Dave? The most pressing threat of voter fraud in Washington state is a satirical blog post lampooning Republicans’ hyperbolic claims of voter fraud in Washington state? For this you send an email threatening legal action?
I don’t doubt Ammons when he writes that his office is “pretty sensitive about talk of ballot selling, etc.,” but he should remember that most if not all of this talk has come in the form of bogus charges from Republicans… charges that can only stem from either a genuine (if loony) belief in massive, endemic, Democratic voter fraud, or from the fact that the accusers are a bunch of cynical, democracy-hating liars. So if Ammons and Reed really believe that intimidating bloggers is the best means of protecting the integrity of our elections system, rather than harassing BlatherWatch, perhaps they should focus their lawyers’ attentions on the vicious, hate-spewing, voter-fraud-conspiracy-spinning, paranoid propagandists at Sound Politics and Orbusmax?
(And again… really Dave? You’re gonna take your cues from a sociopathic, delusional, wingnut who calls himself “The Orb”…? … A proto-fascist, shooting-spree-waiting-to-happen, who Michael aptly describes as “a rightie blogger whose political agenda requires he not get the joke,” and who ironically considers me “frightening,” “treasonous” and “a danger”…? Really?)
The truth is, elections in Washington state are extraordinarily clean, resulting in only a handful of voter fraud prosecutions, even in the wake of the hotly disputed 2004 gubernatorial election contest. In fact I asked Ammons for an actual count of recent voter fraud cases, and he responded, “None that I’m aware of…”
We do want to be hypervigilant about potential fraud. There is a lot of misinformation out there – urban myths, if you will – that keep roiling in some quarters, including some media outlets. It’s something our Elections folks take seriously, to the point about not joking about it. Too many people don’t get the humor and think it’s really possible to do such shenanigans, or worse.
No doubt. But I’m not convinced that pandering to the baseless fears of humorless conspiracy theorists is the best communications strategy.
Indeed, as a sometimes-satirist myself, I’d argue that the best remedy against the slanderous ravings of the likes of Stefan Sharkansky and Jim “The Orb” Walker, is to heap even further ridicule upon them. And in that noble public service, BlatherWatch deserves an official thank you from the Secretary of State for a job well done.