I’m writing today to let you know about several troubling developments that have been brought to our attention regarding the primary election. Now that voting has started, Republican-led efforts are underway statewide to recruit people to watch drop boxes — a continued effect of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie.”
It is disappointing, but not surprising, the Washington State Republican Party is choosing to use their volunteer resources for such an effort. Like the national GOP, they have decided voter intimidation is their best strategy to win races. Republicans even posted signs at drop boxes throughout King County (see below), stating that the area is under surveillance and asking people to report anything “suspicious” to the King County GOP’s website.
But the drop-box surveillance effort is not limited to King County; it’s happening throughout Washington state, as well as the entire nation. Republicans everywhere are actively working to undermine democracy and cast doubt on any unfavorable results under the guise of election “integrity.”
In 2022, there have been a litany of far-right GOP candidates (mostly American First, MAGA, and an even farther fringe of the Glen Morgan efforts) in Washington state running under that banner and encouraging drop-box surveillance, particularly those in the county auditor and Secretary of State races. One America First candidate, Tamborine Borelli, is responsible for creating the Washington Election Integrity Coalition United, or WEiCU, which was recently fined $28,000 by the state Supreme Court for providing minimal evidence in its lawsuit alleging officials illegally registered non-citizens to vote. This same group — although under a different name, WA Citizens United to Secure Ballot Boxes — also is behind a new website to “guard the vote” statewide and asks people to become a drop-box observer, similar (but seemingly separate) to the King County GOP. Borrelli’s Secretary of State campaign site has the same server and administrator as DropBoxWatch as well.
And don’t think that it’s just the furthest right “fringe” of the GOP championing this effort in Washington state. Numerous other Republican candidates (including Jesse Jensen and Scott Stephenson, both of whom are running for the 8th congressional seat) have urged voters to avoid mail-in voting.
The “concerns” motivating these efforts are patently false. Washington’s election system is not only fair and accessible, but also secure. This is textbook voter intimidation, and it needs to be called out as such by the Washington State Republican Party, especially when its own local party organization is guilty of placing signs outside drop boxes warning the area is under surveillance to scare people. But drop boxes remain a safe place to deposit a completed ballot, that hasn’t changed no matter what they claim.
The “Big Lie” is just that, a big lie. Time and again, they fail to provide any real proof of fraud. It needs to end. This is why we have actively called upon the state GOP to rebuke any and all drop-box surveillance efforts. Democracy only thrives when people vote, and Democrats will not allow voter intimidation tactics to stand — it’s time the GOP joined us in that endeavor.
As Democrats, we must do everything in our power to fight back against any effort to cast doubt on the validity of our electoral institutions and weaken our democracy. These dirty tricks from the GOP are likely to have a disproportionate impact in diverse communities (including the 26th, 30th, 42nd, 44th, and 47th LDs to name a few). But please rest assured we are working tirelessly round the clock to combat these efforts from the GOP and make sure every voice is heard in our elections.
Our Voter Protection program is up and running, with a live hotline at 206-309-VOTE (8683). We are ready, willing, and able to assist folks with any questions, and we will do all we can to ensure that every voter gets the help and support they need to cast their ballot. If you see any signs and/or drop-box surveillance efforts in your area, please also report it to the hotline. Also, if you have a legal background and some time, we very much could use your volunteer help with our stellar Voter Protection Team. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org today to join the team!
And if you haven’t mailed in your ballot yet, make sure you do so ASAP! Our terrific Democrats need your support in the primary election. The clock is ticking — please don’t delay, vote today!
Once more, thank you for all you do. Onward to victory!
Chair of the Washington State Democrat