Mail-in voters weigh in for Washington primary election

Washington

WA officials say mail-in voting works

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Tuesday is Washington state’s primary elections day, with 36 candidates for governor on the ballot — including incumbent Jay Inslee.

KOIN 6 News got an inside look at the Clark County Elections office in Vancouver Tuesday afternoon while ballots were being sorted and counted by election workers. Certified election observers were also present in every room at the facility. They represent both the Republican and Democratic Parties as well as civic organizations like the League of Women Voters.

Because of the pandemic, only two election workers are allowed at each table; a plexiglass wall separates the workers.

Clark County’s auditor said vote counts are still slated to keep pace with past elections despite there being fewer workers in 2020. The state’s consistency in pace has much to do with the mail-in system Washington adopted in 2005. President Donald Trump has regularly criticized mail-in voting, claiming it will create chaos and fraud.

Trump said that this particular primary election in Washington state is going to be the “greatest election disaster in history.” He also suggested China and Russia could forge ballots.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says that type of mass fraud wouldn’t be able to get past the mail-in voting system.

“It is widely inappropriate for the president of the United States to suggest to people of this country that voting by mail is somehow going to result in rampant voter fraud when that is factually incorrect,” Ferguson said.

In a report to congress on the 2016 presidential election, the state of Washington said there were two criminal prosecutions for fraudulent votes and a smaller number of other cases in which voters potentially attempted to vote illegally. That translates to two fraudulent votes out of roughly 4.3 million registered Washington voters in 2016.

Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman has now invited President Trump to visit Washington — to teach him how vote by mail works securely. However, she is concerned about recent budget cuts to the postal service under the president’s appointed postmaster general.

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