Hello Democrats! What a big week of news it’s been, and I expect things will only get more exciting between now and November.
We’re Suing to Stand Up For Voting Rights - I’ve made it clear that a commitment to defending voting rights and our democracy is my number one priority as your state party chair, and we had the chance to put that into action this week. After Republican activists filed lawsuits across the state demanding baseless Arizona-style “audits” of the 2020 election results, I knew we had to respond. I called up our attorneys and this week we filed motions to intervene in and dismiss these lawsuits in Clark, Franklin, King, Lincoln, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom counties.
These lawsuits are little more than warmed-over versions of the meritless ‘fraud’ claims that the Trump campaign and its supporters have filed across the country since the 2020 election and continue to be uniformly rejected by every court to have considered them. It’s disappointing and frustrating that these allegations of voter fraud keep getting circulated by Republicans without evidence. They seem to think that their path to power is by discrediting our democracy and riling up a far-right base with conspiracy theories. They are using it all as an excuse to push voter suppression legislation and undermine confidence in the results of the 2022 and 2024 elections, well in advance of voting. Washington state voters deserve better than this and we expect that these lawsuits will be promptly thrown out by the courts.
You can read about our interventions on our state party website, or in the Seattle Times, the Everett Herald, or the Columbian newspapers. This work is very important and I’ll plan to keep you updated with developments. Legal work is expensive, however, and the fact of the matter is that this is putting a strain on many areas of our program. Any resources we spend doing this work are resources we can’t use to improve our GOTV infrastructure and get ready for successful elections in 2022. Please consider helping us with what will be tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/legalhelp
Redistricting Testimony - This Tuesday was the public testimony hearing on the legislative maps proposed by Washington’s four Redistricting Commissioners. The meeting was five hours long and had more than one hundred testifiers; it’s great to see so many people active and engaged in this process.
I was glad to see that in general, the testimony was strongly in favor of the Democratic maps. People across the state talked about the importance of centering their communities of interest - out of more than one hundred testifiers, I only heard one person use the GOP’s talking point that “competitiveness” and GOP-friendly political outcomes should be prioritized over keeping communities together and drawing maps that make sense for real communities. This is a major point in favor of the Democratic approach, especially when so many people supported our maps, specifically. Whether it was having a majority-Hispanic district in the Yakima Valley (Dem maps do, GOP maps don’t), keeping Bainbridge Island with Kitsap County (Dem maps do, GOP maps don’t), keeping Mount Vernon unified in one LD (Dem maps do, GOP maps don’t), or on many other issues, people denounced the GOP gerrymanders and supported the Democratic maps.
Tomorrow morning at 10 AM, the Commission will be taking testimony again, this time on the Congressional maps. You can tune in and watch on TVW through www.redistricting.wa.gov
Tuesday night went well, but we need to keep submitting written testimony. When submitting written testimony atwww.redistricting.wa.gov, we strongly encourage you to customize it to your local area and your specific concerns, but make sure to include a couple key points that matter everywhere:
The Commission’s job should be to focus on maintaining communities of interest and keeping cities and counties together, not on electoral outcomes.
The Republican maps propose huge and irresponsible gerrymanders.
We support the Democratic proposals that will help make sure community voices are fairly heard.
These are the key messages we need to get across! With just a few weeks until the November 15th deadline, it’s critical that we get in our written testimony sooner rather than later.
We’re putting together a folder of resources for local parties and activists to share about getting involved with redistricting -you can access it here. In the folder is a recording of the live testimony training that our Redistricting Committee put together, along with some graphics that the state party staff designed and is ready to share on social media. We’ll continue adding content to this folder for you to access and help support your advocacy efforts.
Kathy Lambert’s Racist Ads - A lot of folks in King County might have heard about the racist ads sent out by GOP King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert this week. Lambert’s mailer portrays Democratic challenger Sarah Perry as a marionette and calls her a “socialist puppet.” Holding the puppet strings are King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay (the only Black member of the County Council) who’s joined by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The image is offensive and I won’t copy it here, but it’s in the Seattle Times story if you care to see it firsthand.
The ads - and Lambert’s doubling down in support of them when questioned - were so offensive that even the conservative Seattle Times editorial board flipped their support to drop Lambert and endorse Sarah Perry!
I joined our King County Democratic Party Chair Shasti Conrad in penning an open letter thanking Zahilay and the Democrats on the King County Council for standing up against these terrible ads, and Sarah Perry for her courage to take this race on and run hard. While we also thank the Times editorial board for taking the strong and unusual stance of flipping their endorsement, there are many other supporters of Lambert that should be called upon to do the same.
Lambert got just 40% of the vote in the August primary, with Sarah Perry and another Democrat combining for just under 60% of the vote, so Lambert is seriously vulnerable and these desperate ads show how weak her position is. King County Council District 3 voters need to step up and get her out of office, and we encourage folks to go to www.electsarahperry.org to support and get involved in Sarah’s campaign.
We also need to recognize that this problem is about more than just one candidate and one campaign. The Republicans use racist (and sexist, and xenophobic, and antisemitic) imagery all the time, in elections across this state and across the country. We have to make sure that our party and voters are holding them accountable when they do by fighting back as hard as we can. We should be prepared to see more ugly ads and bad behavior from the other side as ballots go out next week, and even worse next year in the 2022 midterms. We can’t tolerate this kind of racism in campaigning, and we stop it by fighting back and winning. That takes a whole lot of hard work from all of us and I’m glad you’re on our side.
Voter Protection Hotline Update - With the general election approaching, we’re starting our voter protection program again to help ensure that Washingtonians have the support they need to cast their ballots and their voices are heard. We run one of the strongest and most effective voter protection programs in the country. We take extensive steps to make sure every voter’s right to vote is protected, that folks get the support they need to return their ballots, and their votes are counted.
Our voter protection team assists hundreds of voters every year and makes a proven difference! We have volunteer attorneys staffing the hotline at (206) 309-VOTE from 9 AM to 8 PM daily, ready to answer any and all voter protection questions. If you happen to miss those hours, please leave a voicemail with a detailed explanation of the issue you're having, and one of our amazing volunteers will get back to you as soon as possible! We also maintain a database of Washington’s 400+ dropbox locations on IWillVote.com and update this information daily to ensure every voter can easily cast their ballot!
This is an important resource for helping everyone access the ballot and we want all Democrats to know they can take advantage of this and share the information with their friends, family, and neighbors to ensure everyone can get their ballot in and their vote counted!
Blue Washington! - I want to make sure everyone is familiar with our state party recurring donor program, Blue Washington. Organizing and party building is long-term work that takes sustained effort, and that means we need long-term and sustained funding to make it happen. While we deeply appreciate every contribution we get, having recurring donors means we can count on them as a sustained funding stream to support these longer-term organizing projects that look past just the next month or the next year.
By becoming a recurring donor, you will be investing in a blue future all while receiving exciting perks that’ll keep you engaged with our movement! This program specifically helps fund the resources that organizers need to keep fighting for our progressive values in communities across the state. To learn more about the perks and sign up, click here!
Additionally, those who sign up with a minimum donation of $10 through Election Day will receive this limited edition baseball cap with a message that all Democrats know to be true:
Sign up today to receive your hat AND additional perks, all while supporting a truly grassroots movement!
Legislative Retirements - We’ve had big news from the Democrats in two of our senate seats recently - our wonderful Sen. Jeannie Darneille of the 27th LD, who announced that she’ll be stepping down next month to take a new job leading the new Women’s Division at the Department of Corrections, and Sen. David Frockt of the 46th LD, who announced that he won’t be running for re-election next year.
Sen. Darneille has been a champion for folks in need for a long time. I first got to know her back when she was Executive Director of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation in the 1990s. In the legislature, she has a well-earned reputation as a determined fighter for social justice issues. As chair of the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee, she has sponsored and/or facilitated the passage of landmark bills to expand our social safety net, improve the child welfare system, reform the juvenile justice and criminal legal systems, reduce racial disproportionality in those systems, and expand services and opportunities for people who are returning to their communities after experiencing incarceration. We know she’ll bring this same commitment to helping folks in her work at her new job to reform and improve our criminal justice system.
Sen. Frockt has been one of the longest-running advocates for tax reform in the legislature. He was one of the key players in the legal and political strategy to get Eyman’s 2/3rds initiatives ruled unconstitutional and was one of the major advocates for making our tax system fairer with a capital gains tax on the profits of the sale of investments. He’s taken on many other issues as well, though, from getting us on the path to public universal health care, reforming our education funding models, expanding access to higher education, and stopping tuition increases at our colleges and universities. All Washingtonians owe both senators an enthusiastic thanks for their committed service.
The 27th LD Democrats will be holding their meeting to nominate appointees to replace Sen. Darneille on Saturday, October 16th. In advance of that meeting, the 27th LD Democrats will host an open virtual forum for prospective candidates for the Senate appointment tomorrow, on Saturday, October 9th at 10 AM. Candidates will be allowed 5 minutes to introduce themselves and discuss their platform and vision. There will be up to 3 questions from voting 27th LD PCOs and the event will be recorded, open to the public, and made available on social media. If you’re interested, you can register for their event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkcu-hpj0oE9XMgHGUhhTNHRhON5ExIZpH
Thanks for reading as always!