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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.

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Backers of an Arizona-style election “audit” circus launch wave of lawsuits in Washington

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.

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