In King County, the Elections Department claims they update their voter lists every 30 days. Yet, recently local citizens ran the King county voter list through the US Post Office “NCOA” update and at least 6.7% of the “voters” had addresses which had not been updated in many cases for over a year. Why?
Why are 6.7% of King County voter records not accurate?
By Glen Morgan
Today is Election Day around the nation. This is also mostly true in Washington State. Unlike most states, Washington has been all-mail in voting for many years. Millions of ballots are mailed to voters and the election results which are first announced tonight will be just a preview of the final vote results, since large numbers of ballots remain to be counted for the next few weeks, and this drags out the drama. This can be frustrating because unless election night is a blowout of more than 8%, the results can change dramatically depending on how many late arriving ballots (the United States Post Office can be slower than the Pony Express at times). While there are many problems with mail-in voting, one problem worth some needed attention are the problems in the voter registration database.
Washington State has 39 counties, and King County has the largest population. In a state with about 5.1 million registered voters (this number will change daily because the state recently allowed new voter registration up to and including on election day), about 1.5 million of these voters are in King County.
Maintenance of the voting registration database is a critical part of the election process. People die. People move (approximately 1% per month). Some people will try to commit vote fraud. Regardless of the reason, the voter rolls must be maintained, and they must be maintained accurately.
Fortunately, in Washington State, the list of registered voters is a public record. Anyone can download this list and verify if these records are being maintained. Some concerned citizens recently did this for the King County voter records immediately after the August primary. Here is a disturbing problem discovered:
6.7% of the registered voter data do not have valid mailing addresses (see here). This is from the updated voter list on October 15th – which was AFTER the ballots were mailed and most had been counted in the primary. In theory, this list would have been “cleaned” before the recent primary election.
The first step in this process began in August after the primary elections. The voter list of just shy of 1.5 million registered voters was pulled and submitted through what is called a USPS NCOA update, which stands for a “National Change of Address update” review. The post office requires this update to be done for all commercial mailings to save the money of getting returned mail. When an address cannot be verified, the person has moved out of state, etc, the Post Office will notify the mailer of these problems, and the mailer removes those addresses from the list. Anyone involved in the bulk mail or commercial mailing process is familiar with this. The result of this initial review of the 1.5 million voters (done in two CASS reports – see here – this list was broken down into two reports because the vendor would only do 1 million addresses at a time), showed a disturbing number of addresses that are not accurate and can’t be mailed. The significance of this can be found in the part of the report highlighted below, which clarifies that most of these inaccurate address problems were over 90 days old.
The significance of these lingering, inaccurate registered voter data is that it clearly proves the voter rolls are not being “cleaned up.” This is not a complicated or difficult process. As is reported on the Secretary of State website (see here), and industry standard according to bulk mail operators, we would expect about 1% of the registered voter data per month to be inaccurate and needing updating. A result around 1% every month would be acceptable and expected. Anything significantly over that number is problematic. These CASS reports indicate there are serious problems in the King County voter registration database (and likely other counties as well).
These problems are significant because according to the King County elections department, the Secretary of State’s office, and the company they claim to outsource this process of “cleaning the data” (ERIC – see here) all claim they do these address scrubs (updates) every 30 days. King County’s own registered voter records appears to indicate this is not true. However, you can only confirm this if you are willing to request and download the registered voter list yourself and be willing to pay for the CASS reports like we did. Anyone can verify this data if you are willing to pay for it, and some Washington State citizens are understandably concerned.
Now, before this gets hyped up too much, we must clarify something first. This does not mean that 6.7% of the voters are fake or fraudulent. Some of these are legitimate voters who have moved. Some are no longer valid voters. All this means is the King County Elections department is not cleaning up their registered voter records on a regular basis, as they claim. Are they lying, or is it just another example (among many) of government incompetence? We do not know. Somebody is lying somewhere, but we expect the bureaucratic finger pointing to take center stage, and in the typical bureaucratic shuffle and two step dance – shift the blame to someone else. This is normal. Everyone involved blames the other guy. It becomes too difficult and confusing to figure out who the heck is supposed to do what, and eventually the public loses interest. It is the classic and predictable way for the bureaucracy to avoid accountability, responsibility, and transparency.
History of the “Fraud Factory“
The King County elections department has been mired in questionable behavior for many years – long before anyone imagined Donald Trump would run for President. The problems we are exposing here are nothing new, but this is a bigger problem for the state than just another typically incompetent bumbling bureaucracy conveniently screwing up so that they can assist one political group or another. Due to the sheer volume of votes in King County compared to the rest of the state (King County represents roughly 30% of all voters in Washington State), what happens in King County doesn’t stay there – it affects everyone in Washington State. Ever since the 2004 Rossi/Gregoire debacle where secret stashes of ballots were regularly “discovered” including in the car trunks of election workers weeks after election day and conveniently helped elect Democratic Governor Gregoire over Republican Dino Rossi (who won the first two counts), the King County elections department has often been a source of concern and open mockery. Conservative activists around the state have given this department the nickname “The Fraud Factory,” and this department rarely does anything to dispel the nickname.
After the 2004 Governor race debacle, some minor attention was given towards cleaning up voter rolls and making the King County Elections Director an elected position rather than an appointed one (under King County’s original Home Rule charter, it had been an appointed position, and Democrat King County Executive Ron Sims had been directing how and which ballots were being counted in the 2004 Rossi/Gregoire fiasco). However, it seems that old habits die hard. According to an email recently sent by the King County Elections department to Fred Lucas, Chief National Affairs Correspondent for the Daily Signal (who also interviewed me recently), it was claimed:
“We’re constantly working with other states to flag when a voter has moved. If we receive word from another state that one of our voters has registered to vote in that state, their record in Washington is cancelled. In addition, Washington State is part of an organization called ERIC, which is a consortium that currently includes 30 states and DC. ERIC takes the voter registration rolls and driver license databases of all of its member states and regularly compares them to both each other and USPS change of address data specifically to look for duplicate voter records and indications of any voters who may have moved. We also monitor USPS change of address information ourselves. If either ERIC or USPS let us know that a voter has moved out of the state, their record is placed on inactive status and we attempt to reach out to them to make sure their voter registration information is accurate. Voters on inactive status are not mailed ballots. If an inactive voter hasn’t given us updated information by the time two even-year general elections have passed, we cancel their record.”
Some of this statement is true, and some appears to be false. The reports linked above and posted at the end of this article contradict her claims that the voter records are updated regularly. ERIC, as referenced in this email from the King County elections department, will also claim they update the list every 30 days, but that claim is also not reflected in the voter lists which are public record. You do not have to believe me. Anyone can download the list and pay for the same service (if you have an account with a mail house that can do this).
Another claim made by the King County Elections department is that they clean up “duplicate records,” but this appears to be demonstrably false as evidenced by the variety of people who have contacted me with duplicate ballots coming to their homes – sometimes with multiple voter IDs (which means that if both ballots were filled out and counted, they would both count). They claim that non-US citizens “don’t vote,” but they are sending ballots to non-US citizens who get driver’s licenses right now – I have two examples of this already, and I haven’t even tried to look for this yet. They claim the Department of Licensing is not registering people to vote when they get their licenses without ID, but that is exactly what these people claim who send me the photos of their ballots. They claim that people who have moved to another state and registered to vote there will have their voter registration in Washington State cancelled, but this isn’t true (a topic for a future article where I hope to publish these lists as well).
Thousands of people who have moved to other states from Washington are registered to vote in both states right now and have been for some time (keep in mind, it is only a crime if they actually vote in both states). It should be noted, I am only aware of people who are willing to be honest, draw attention to the problem, and not commit vote fraud. If someone is willfully committing vote fraud, it is unlikely they will come forward and confess to a felony just for the fun of it. Maybe I’m only looking at a small, statistically insignificant sampling of these examples, but these examples highlight a variety of problems which the King County elections department claims are not a problem or the problem doesn’t exist, yet we find specific examples where they are happening, and we haven’t even made a serious effort to audit these additional problems yet.
On a more concerning front, King County Election’s office claim they have great security at their ballot processing center, yet they planned to turn their cameras off at night “because the building is secure.” That should make anyone serious laugh at the absurdity. Note, once conservative activists found out about this ridiculous fact, they confronted the King County Elections office about this obvious sloppy behavior, and NOW the King County Election’s office claims they will keep the cameras on at night in the ballot processing areas. No word yet on whether they will look in the car trunks of election workers. We’ll see.
Is vote fraud being committed in Washington State? Sure. However, the bigger question is how much vote fraud is being committed and whether it is statistically significant enough to impact the electoral outcomes. In close races (like the 2004 gubernatorial race) fraud was easily the difference impacting who won that race. It all starts with the voter lists, and if they are screwed up – either through bureaucratic bumbling incompetence, willful failure, or outright fraud – this does not bode well for election integrity. Mailing 100,000 ballots to bad addresses only invites the potential for more fraud.
We must demand election integrity, transparency, and accountability. Every county is slightly different, and each county has an elected auditor (or elections director in King County) who is responsible for making sure they do the right thing or at least bumble through and get close to doing the right thing. There are differences between many of these offices and how they operate, but they can all aspire to some minimal level of competency. In Washington State, no county has a bigger impact and a worse track record than King County. There are no excuses for these types of failures to continue. It isn’t too much to ask for the largest county in the state to at least marginally keep up their voter registration database.
This is part 1, in this series.
(for those who are sending me photos of your duplicate ballots, or if you are a non-citizen and have received these ballots – please make sure you include photos which clearly show the mailing address and your name. And, don’t vote more than once, please, even if you do live in King County and that behavior is encouraged)
OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.” IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE. IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT. IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.” UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED…
Background articles and documents:
King County sends thousands of Duplicate ballots (I’m sure it is fine – nothing to see here)
Published with Permission of wethegoverned.com