Washington is nationally renowned for its early adoption of vote at home, a system in which nearly all voters make their voices heard using paper ballots, as opposed to electronic voting machines. The state and its thirty-nine counties have a lengthy track record of administering smooth and well run elections, including last year, when Washingtonians allocated their twelve electoral votes to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, rejected right wing efforts to gut comprehensive sex ed, and reelected Governor Jay Inslee to a third term.
Yet a cadre of conspiracy theorists and election security critics remain utterly, totally convinced that the 2020 presidential election in Washington was rife with fraud and “manipulated” ballots. With no one paying attention to their completely baseless and unfounded allegations, they’ve decided to up the ante by going to court and wasting public resources rehashing their grievances there.
So far, at least three lawsuits have been filed (in Snohomish, Whatcom and Clark counties) which all demand that the judiciary order the creation of an Arizona-style election “audit” circus that would seize the counties’ archived ballots and deliver them into the hands of conspiracy theorists for “review”.
The lead plaintiff in each of these bogus legal challenges is an entity created by Tamborine Borrelli, a former 2016 Bernie Sanders national delegate who ran for the Washington State Senate as a Democrat and then later challenged Denny Heck for Congress as an independent. (Both campaigns were unsuccessful). Borrelli has teamed up with right wing activists to take on elections officials.
The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield spoke with Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman about the baseless suits for a story that got picked up by The Associated Press.
“This is the new reality on the ground for election administrators,” Wyman said.
“It doesn’t matter how wide a margin in the results. You call everything into question and it undermines the validity of everything in the process.”
“All these allegations and I’ve yet to see anything brought to a prosecuting attorney or the FBI that we could actually respond to,” she added.
Cornfield was also able to get several plaintiffs to go on the record about their participation in these actions. They each basically said the same thing: we don’t have any evidence of fraud or wrongdoing, but we don’t trust the system.
Conspiracy theorists love to toss around words like integrity, honesty, trust, and of course, forensic audit. Yet they themselves behave dishonestly and without integrity by concocting wild, totally baseless accusations of impropriety.
As Secretary Wyman said, none of the conspiracy theorists or critics have yet offered a credible allegation that could actually be investigated.
That’s because all of this — all of it — is based on belief. Not fact. Belief.
Borrelli and another plaintiff Cornfield interviewed (Art Coday) are both candidates who have run for office repeatedly and lost. Others are Trump backers who appear to be among the crowd that were utterly convinced that victories for Loren Culp and the campaign to reject Referendum 90 were imminent.
The response of these Trump backers to the discrepancy between the actual results and their deluded expectations has been to assert that something nefarious happened, and that a “forensic audit” would bring the “truth” to light. They want an Arizona-style “audit” circus right here in Washington.
It’s telling that all of the plaintiffs are representing themselves and don’t have attorneys. If these conspiracy theorists had any actual evidence to work with, they’d have no problem obtaining legal counsel.
But they don’t because there isn’t any.
We hope the judges who end up handling these cases give the plaintiffs the sharp telling-offs they deserve for wasting court time and public resources. That’s probably about all of the good that we could expect to come out of these suits.