NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Trump booster Doug Ericksen wants to abolish vote at home in Washington State

Wash­ing­ton State’s vote at home sys­tem is an inspi­ra­tion to many peo­ple across the Unit­ed States. It allows peo­ple to ful­fill their civic oblig­a­tions secure­ly and eas­i­ly, and it is a sys­tem that is hard to manip­u­late to sup­press the vote. So, nat­u­ral­ly, Don­ald Trump back­ers like Doug Erick­sen want to get rid of it.

State Sen­a­tor Doug Erick­sen is prepar­ing leg­is­la­tion to return Wash­ing­ton state to in-per­son vot­ing, require vot­er ID at the polls and inval­i­date most absen­tee bal­lots that arrive by mail after Elec­tion Day. Erick­sen, a Fer­n­dale Repub­li­can, claimed with­out pro­vid­ing evi­dence or cit­ing specifics that there are “long­stand­ing con­cerns” about elec­tion security.

Erick­sen is one of Don­ald Trump’s most ardent fans and admir­ers. He jumped on board the Trump band­wag­on ear­ly in the 2016 cycle, and was the co-chair of Trump’s Wash­ing­ton State oper­a­tion along with Don Benton.

The leg­is­la­tion Erick­sen is “prepar­ing” is dead on arrival in the truest sense of that term, and Erick­sen sure­ly knows that. The Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate will remain con­trolled by Democ­rats in 2021. There’s no rea­son why Erick­sen’s non­sense should con­sume any of the Leg­is­la­ture’s valu­able time and atten­tion, espe­cial­ly giv­en the reduced capac­i­ty com­mit­tees will have for hear­ing bills.

Nonethe­less, Erick­sen and oth­er Trump boost­ers are sig­nal­ing that they’re going to do their darn­d­est to dis­tract us from talk­ing about ideas that real­ly would improve elec­tions here in Wash­ing­ton State, like abol­ish­ing Eyman’s push polls, switch­ing to a two-year cycle for ini­tia­tives and ref­er­en­da, or reform­ing the process for devel­op­ing bal­lot titles, or pro­vid­ing for cit­i­zen review of initiatives.

The dis­cus­sion over whether Wash­ing­ton should have vote at home or not is over. We made a deci­sion over a decade ago that we were going to be a vote at home state like Ore­gon. Since them, we have added drop box­es and pro­vid­ed for pre­paid postage on bal­lot return envelopes to make vot­ing even easier.

The work we’ve done is wide­ly admired around the coun­try, and for good reason.

We’re not going backwards.

Though recent­ly reelect­ed Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman has not always mount­ed a strong defense of vote at home when appear­ing in front of Repub­li­can audi­ences, she did make it clear, when asked about Erick­sen’s leg­is­la­tion by the Belling­ham Her­ald, that she oppos­es it.

“Wash­ing­ton elec­tion offi­cials have worked dili­gent­ly for more than ten years to make the state’s vote-by-mail sys­tem acces­si­ble, secure, and fair,” Wyman told The Belling­ham Her­ald in an email.

“I’m proud of the hard work and thought­ful­ness the Office of the Sec­re­tary of State and coun­ty elec­tion offi­cials have put into mak­ing this sys­tem suc­cess­ful. I believe it has served as a mod­el for oth­er states look­ing to tran­si­tion to full mail-in vot­ing,” she said.

We agree that Wash­ing­ton has served as a mod­el and should con­tin­ue to. This is anoth­er area where we and Kim Wyman agree. We hope that Sec­re­tary of State Wyman will use her influ­ence to urge Erick­sen’s Repub­li­can col­leagues not to cospon­sor his coun­ter­pro­duc­tive leg­is­la­tion. The pan­dem­ic has demon­strat­ed just how use­ful and valu­able vote at home is. Let’s build on that, and dis­cuss ways to make it eas­i­er for peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in our democ­ra­cy, not harder.

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2 Comments

  1. Read­ing the arti­cle care­ful­ly, I see his pro­pos­al has absen­tee vot­er options.

    This com­ment has been edit­ed by NPI to com­ply with our Com­ment­ing Guide­lines.

    # by Charlie Crabtree :: November 26th, 2020 at 12:43 PM
    • “Absen­tee” is not the same thing as “vote at home”. In a vote at home sys­tem, there are no “absen­tee” bal­lots, because near­ly every­one is vot­ing at home, with the excep­tion of those who need to use acces­si­ble vot­ing centers. 

      Doug Erick­sen is propos­ing doing away with the vote at home sys­tem we have and invert­ing our defaults. Instead of get­ting a bal­lot in the mail and hav­ing three weeks to return it, you’d have to explic­it­ly request an “absen­tee” bal­lot in order to keep the free­dom to vote at home in future elections. 

      This is the very sys­tem that we aban­doned years ago. Ridicu­lous­ly, Erick­sen also wants to require that absen­tee bal­lots be inval­i­dat­ed if they show up after Elec­tion Day, some­thing Wash­ing­ton State has nev­er done. 

      Not even Kim Wyman sup­ports this. 

      Erick­sen’s vot­er sup­pres­sion scheme will get an instant burial.

      # by Andrew Villeneuve :: November 26th, 2020 at 12:56 PM

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