Elections: Knowledge is Power
The 2022 midterm elections are going to be extremely interesting, and the stage is set for possible historic Republican gains in both the state legislature and in our federal congressional delegations. However, there are outstanding questions about election integrity in Washington state. People sometimes say “It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes.” Let’s take a look at some our election laws, and explore possible actions everyday people can take to help protect the integrity of elections in their hometowns.
Who controls Washington’s election laws?
Washington state has a unique set of election laws, which have been developed by the state legislature. This is a uniform set of election rules followed by every county, and administered through the office of the secretary of state, which guides and supports the work of the county auditors (or for some counties, the county election administrators).
Washington state voters can impact election laws at three levels of government with votes for their county auditors (local level), state legislators (legislative districts) or the secretary of state (state-wide). In addition, the governor (another state-wide official) also has a say in election laws, because he can request legislation be created, and he can veto legislation that he disagrees with.
The secretary of state is responsible for implementing the laws, not creating laws, so control of the legislature is the key to fixing our elections in the future. If we really want to fix problems, we’ll also need to win control of the governor’s mansion as well.
The secretary of state does have some leeway in creating the administrative rules that the county elections departments use, so control of this state office is also critical. Until Republican Kim Wyman left the state to join the Biden administration, the voters of our state had elected a Republican to this important office for over 50 years. Senator Keith Wagoner, a Republican from Sedro Woolley, will be challenging Inslee’s newly appointed Democratic Secretary of State Steve Hobbs in this year’s elections (bit.ly/3M6sTWG). Please get to know this great candidate with a strong election integrity platform.
What’s been done to our Election Laws?
When the legislature and governor’s office is controlled by one political party for a long period of time, as has happened in Washington State, a lot of mischief can be done. The legislature, since 1991, has made eleven major changes to our election laws. Some changes have also been made at the federal level by Congress. It’s taken 30 years of manipulating the laws to get us to the vote-by-mail system we have today. Multiple state laws, multiple state agencies, and the federal government are involved.
Current problems include mandated vote by mail, motor voter registration at the Department of Licensing, the “jungle” primary, ballot drop boxes and suspect electronic ballot tabulation machines. We also have a system that allows same day voter registration, and impossible-to-track “homeless” voter address creation by county- level elections departments. We even allow citizens who no longer live in the state to vote, as long as they’ve ever lived in Washington state and are not voting in any other US jurisdiction (bit.ly/37lSsoa)!
These multiple major issues cannot be fixed overnight. They can only be fixed by electing conservatives who will fight for election integrity at the local, legislative, state and national level!
How do we fix this mess?
How do you vote to fix elections, if the elections laws have been deliberately altered to dilute, invalidate, or possibly alter your vote?
You must vote, no matter what. If you DON’T vote, those who are manipulating election laws will continue to steal your right to have your vote accurately counted in a free and fair election. Did David think that there was no way his little rock and sling could beat Goliath? Your vote matters! You must vote, and encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to vote, too!
But it’s not enough to just cast a ballot in the August primary and the November general election. If you want to have a bigger voice in the future of our country, you must get involved at the local level of politics where you will have the biggest impact.
Knowledge is power. Learn more about the current RCWs and how they apply to voting rights, precincts, and election funding (bit.ly/3xE6pbB). Look into WSACA—the Washington State Association of County Auditors (bit.ly/3Ol2o1w). Does this association work to secure your voting rights, or is it trying to suppress your vote? Review its 2022 legislative agenda, and you will see that this association is marching lock-step with progressive legislators to continue to reduce the ability to hold free and fair elections (bit.ly/37ofaM8).
Most counties will have a chance to vote on a county auditor this fall. Do you have a conservative auditor who supports your goals of improving election integrity, or do you need to find and support a new candidate? Filing week is in mid-May! You need a good conservative candidate for auditor ready to go! Take the time to get educated and get involved. You’ll have a bigger voice in elections in the future.
Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.
(1) Republican Senator to enter WA Secretary of State Race, US News and World Report
(2) the History of Voting and Elections in Washington State,
3) Washington Voter Suppression, Bill Deilke, 2022 (PDF)
(4) Washington State Association of County Auditors
(5) WSACA 2022 Legislative Agenda