Washington state’s ‘clean’ elections

Contrary to Ms. Donna Branch-Gilby’s recent letter assuring voters of clean elections in Washington state, there is plenty of cause to worry.

A couple of years back, the hackers’ conference in Los Vegas showed every vote-counting machine in use in the U.S. could easily be manipulated to give results contrary to the paper ballots fed into the machines.

The only way to eliminate potential fraud in our elections is to follow the lead of the rest of the world and require in-person voting with proof of residency and citizenship, no votes allowed after 8 p.m. (unless already in voter line), counted by hand at the precinct where the votes are cast, with both political parties directly counting and verifying each ballot.

Canada’s locally hand-counted elections are completed nationally in 24 hours. Methods exist for military and non-ambulatory voters. “Found” boxes of “late” ballots must be disqualified.

In addition to the obvious lack of chain of custody issues with ballot drop boxes and potential for vote harvesting with our current mail-in vote system, there is no state mandate to remove the names of deceased voters from county election roles.

RCW 29A.08.520 only states election boards “may” be notified of death (no time limit.). The mother of one of my friends was living with them when she died at age 98. There have now been five elections and mom’s ballot continues to arrive. Kitsap County does not know who is actually voting.

Another of my friends in this past fall’s primary election received three ballots, including one with a different middle initial and incorrect voter registration card.

It’s not who votes; what matters is the mechanics of counting the votes. We must trust our elections are fair or we get dictatorship.

Michael A. Gustavson