Hello fellow Democrats!
Right now it looks like there’s just been a scary attack by a vehicle on the Capitol building in Washington DC. There’s still a lot that we don’t know about who did this or why, but it appears that a Capitol Police officer was killed in the attack. Our hearts are with the officer’s loved ones and the entire U.S. Capitol Police Department. USCP officers have bravely stood on the line through extremely challenging moments this year. We send comfort to all who have been impacted.
This week we’re doing a deep dive on voting rights, how Republicans won’t stop trying to roll back the right to vote, and continue to spread conspiracies about the 2020 elections – here in Washington and across the country.
“Republicans in Washington state still pushing the election conspiracy that won’t die”
In case you missed it, Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times wrote an article delving into how, right here in Washington, Republicans still refuse to give up on the conspiracy that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen. He discusses the King County Republicans’ now-infamous “Election Integrity Committee” report, writing:
Its first report uncovered zero fraud, but contains assertions that come straight out of a Republican fever dream. Such as the feat that “members of Antifa/BLM” have been registering as voters here, “despite coming from other areas to stay temporarily to riot.”
The report attacks the state’s electronic vote-counting systems, contending, falsely, that they “were originally developed for the purpose of manipulating results to cheat elections.” Its source for many of these claims is a report by Trump’s infamous election lawyer Sidney Powell, who last week admitted in a defamation suit in court that “no reasonable person” could have heard her wild allegations about the election and assumed they were true.
Westneat’s article also notes that despite GOP conspiracies, multiple hand recounts across the state have confirmed the accuracy of our 2020 elections:
What’s so strange about all this is that after the November election, Republicans concerned by the possibility of fraud challenged various vote counts around the state. This is a good thing: It’s a check on the system when parties demand a hand recount of votes in places where they suspect problems.
“The point is to try and build people’s confidence up,” Doug Roulstone, of the Snohomish County GOP, told the Everett Herald about why he was paying for a spot-check recount there. “They want to know nothing is happening here.”
Hand recounts were requested near Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, in an Eastside precinct in the 45th Legislative District, on Orcas Island in the San Juans and in five precincts in the 9th Congressional District in Federal Way, Kent, Mercer Island and Seattle.
I’m guessing you haven’t heard much about this. That’s because these recounts came up with nothing. Not only was nothing amiss, but in most of the precincts, the laborious process of scrutinizing every ballot by hand didn’t change a single vote.
Hand recounts are a great tool because if there’s a mismatch caused by the vote-counting software — the main suspicion raised by Trump and his lawyers — then an inspection of the physical ballots will detect it.
Example: Local Republicans requested a recount of an Orcas Island precinct in the governor’s race, due to concerns about the software and the margin of Gov. Jay Inslee’s win there. Inslee had beaten Republican Loren Culp in that precinct by 711 votes to 199 in the initial machine tally. After a hand recount, Inslee won by the same 711 votes to 199.
“After going through all this I have great confidence in the election in Washington state,” a member of the canvassing board there said.
Good news, right? Not if you’re drunk on Trump.
It’s clear that Washington state Republicans are more interested in pushing their own delusional conspiracies about how they think the election was stolen from Donald Trump than they are on working to solve any of the challenges still facing America in 2021.
The fraudster running the state GOP’s Election Integrity Committee
Not to be outdone by the King County Republicans, the Washington State Republican Party has an Election Integrity Committee of its own; they chose quite a character to chair it. Bill Bruch, their failed candidate from the 10th LD race in 2020, announced in February that he was chosen to chair the committee:
For a committee supposedly working on integrity, they chose a chair who lacks it. As reported in the local press with the help of our Skagit County Democrats, Bruch was an investment advisor who defrauded his elderly clients and was found liable for judgements totaling $1.7 million. While running for office in 2020, Bruch also claimed that people should be cautious of COVID vaccines and not wear masks, stated that COVID-19 was “a huge fraud perpetuated [sic] on mankind,”and asserted that the entire pandemic was a conspiracy between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates.
Clearly this isn’t a person who anyone should be trusting to stand up for integrity or fair elections. Like the rest of the Washington State Republican Party leadership, he’s a conspiracy theorist focused on bogus stories from right-wing media instead of the reality of people’s lives. Bruch prioritizes his delusions of conspiracy over economic recovery and the help that folks need to get through the rest of this pandemic.
GOP’s legislative assault on voting rights
All these attacks on voting aren’t just silly talk; Republicans in the Washington legislature are intent on pursuing an agenda to roll back the right to vote in Washington state, as we’ve seen Republicans do in other states like Georgia. Led by Sen. Doug Ericksen (LD 42) and Rep. Brad Klippert (LD 8), a group of GOP legislators introduced legislation to end all-mail votingand disenfranchise legal voters, and to throw away ballots that were legally cast before Election Day because of post office mistakes.
On top of that, every Republican legislator voted against HB 1078, the bill on its way to the Governor’s desk that will restore the right to vote to people who have been convicted of a felony but released from DoC facilities. While Democrats are making sure Washingtonians’ rights are protected, Republicans are standing in our way.
The reaction to Georgia
We’re already seeing an outcry across the country in response to the anti-voting bills being pushed by Republicans in Georgia. Even businesses that often take conservative stances like Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola (both headquartered in Atlanta) are speaking out in opposition and just a few hours ago, Major League Baseball announced that they’d be moving this summer’s All-Star Game out of Georgia in response to the bill. These important moves show the cultural power of our movement, but we need to make sure they are linked to true accountability for those who are pursuing these radical and unpopular assaults on voting rights. We need to leverage this cultural power into political power that can pass the legislation necessary at the state and federal levels to make sure that every voter can get their ballot in and exercise their right to vote.
It’s clear that this GOP agenda isn’t just talk; they legitimately want to roll back our rights to vote -- from Georgia to Washington state. We need to fight to make sure that every voter knows their rights, every voter is registered, and every voter can return their ballot and have their voice heard. This is the lifeblood of our democracy and our party will not give up the fight!
Something to do: Right now Georgia is one of the most important states in the battle to protect voting rights. We encourage you to get involved with the “Stop Jim Crow” campaign led by Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action group. You can get information on what’s happening with voter suppression in other states and how to get involved in the national effort to protect voting rights on their website here.
Something to watch:This week onDemocracy on Demand, we talked with Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (LD 34) about the important environmental bills moving through the legislature this year. We know it’s essential for Washington state to lead the fight against climate change and to make sure that we’re cleaning up our energy sources, reducing our carbon emissions, and protecting those most affected by environmental pollution. This was a very interesting talk that included many ideas for how folks can get involved in these last few important weeks of the legislative session!
Something to read: With states like Georgia passing Jim Crow-style attacks on voting rights, it’s more important than everfor Congress to act and pass the “For The People” voting rights bill. Our own Senator Patty Murray agreesand told the Spokesman-Review paper that we can’t let this bill be filibustered by Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party. Read up on these issues and let’s take this fight to the Republicans -- in Washington and across the country!--