We will continue to update this article as this unfolds. Please check back for updates regularly.
Why it Matters
King county is by far the largest county in Washington State. It is also the biggest overall offender of election law. This is due in part by the mere size of the county, but the careless nature of their election administration plays a bigger role.
From the History Books
King County was the deciding factor in 2004 when they found uncounted votes and overturned the governor race which was originally called for Dino Rossi. He won the original count, the machine recount, but lost the hand recount after King County “found” more ballots.
Current King County Elections
Today, the county continues its questionable practices of election administration.
King County Elections administrators consistently work outside of office hours, and do not inform the political parties as required by RCW 29A.40.100 and WAC 434-261-020. Their office hours are 8:30 to 4:30, yet they start processing ballots sometimes as early as 7 am and as late as 8 pm, 10pm, even past midnight in 2022.
In 2022, over 21% of the activity was outside of business hours. Some of these could be fine, as long as they informed observers that they would be processing ballots. However, it does not appear they have sent any such notifications.
To give you a better idea of what kind of activity is happening and when, here are a few facts from the 2022 general election records provided by the county. (We are using 2022 instead of the more recent 2023 primary becuase we are still waiting on the county to provide all the records for that election. It’s not unusual for them to drag it out over several months.)
- 70058 individual ballots adjudicated, 14523 of which were outside of business hours (20.7%)
- 828 deleted batches, 408 outside of business hours (49.3%)
- 4280 batches scanned, 638 outside of business hours (14.9%)
Activity according to the logs by the day in 2022:
Now look at the activity from 2020:
Not only that, but they are adjudicating alarming numbers of ballots, all the way up until the day of certification. On 11/28/2022, system logs show there were 4490 resolved ballots. They went all the way up to midnight that day adjudicating ballots. That close to certification, we would expect them to have adjudicated these ballots much earlier.
In the 2020 election, there were over 120,000 adjudications according to the records provided by the county. In 2022 it was 80,000+ total adjudications, which was on 70,058 different ballots. (Some ballots had multiple races which required adjudication.)
During the recent 2023 primary election there was an issue with the ClearVote 2.3 system. The county had to switch to their backup server, which requires a new (emergency) Logic and Accuracy test, since it wasn’t included in the original test. The county failed to notify the party observers and the public of thier emergency L&A test because they failed to conduct an emergency test after replacing the server. Logs show when the server switch happened, the current primary election was restored and they continued adjudicating and scanning ballots.
A request was sent for the video footage of the time period covering the server issue and replacement, and here is their response:
The county is dancing around the issue and sent a letter which apologized for falling short of their responsibilities, but is vague in what they actually failed to do. They claim they will do better next time. We have heard that before.
9/25 King County GOP Chairman met with King County Election Director, Julie Wise, who said her attorneys advised her that she is not required to conduct an emergency Logic and Accuracy test when switching the server in the middle of an election. Chairman asked what would constitute a new test, and she said she doesn’t like to speculate and she didn’t like his tone. She said the King County GOP can sue her. We will support them in this effort. If they think a SERVER isn’t a big deal, what else will they do behind closed doors?
9/29 King County believes they can switch out the system (server) and as long as they use the same programming, they aren’t required to conduct an emergency logic and accuracy test. So they just use an external device, like a USB drive, and program the new server with the same programming as the first one, restore the election and continue processing ballots.
King County Citizen Election Oversight Committee
The Real Question
If they can’t get it right in a small primary eleciton, how are we supposed to have faith they will get it right during a larger election or presidential election?
Why did they disregard the law and decide they don’t need to do antoher test? Perhaps because they know there is never any accountability, and they can just say sorry and continue on conducting elections as they please, whether it falls in line with the law or not?
Logic and accuracy test certification.
(1) The official logic and accuracy test shall be certified by the county auditor or deputy, the secretary of state representative, and any political party observers for a state primary or general election in accordance with RCW 29A.12.130. Additionally, the county auditor must verify in writing that the version numbers for all software, firmware, and hardware of the voting system used have not changed from the certified versions.
(2) The county auditor shall provide the secretary of state representative copies of the following documents:
(a) Test results;
(b) A zero report;
(c) Signed verification of the version numbers;
(d) Signed certification of the official logic and accuracy test;
(e) A test log of:
(i) The number of accessible voting units to be used in the primary or election; and
(ii) The electronic duplication system, if electronic duplication will be used in the primary or election; and
(f) Any other documentation requested by the secretary of state representative in advance of the official test.
(3) Copies of the certification documents must be retained by the secretary of state and the county auditor. All test results, test ballots, the signed certification, and a copy of the tabulation programming or the actual tabulation equipment must be kept in secure storage as defined in WAC 434-261-045 until ballots are to be tabulated.
(4) If, for any reason, changes are made to the ballot counting programming after the official logic and accuracy test, an emergency logic and accuracy test must be conducted pursuant to WAC 434-335-310.
Procedures for conducting an emergency logic and accuracy test.
If the official logic and accuracy test cannot be completed at the scheduled time and place, an emergency test must be scheduled by the county auditor. The emergency test must be conducted and properly completed prior to processing any official ballots through the vote tabulation system. If a representative of the office of the secretary of state is unable to attend the emergency test, the county auditor and another member of the county canvassing board or their designated representative must observe the test and certify the results. Observers and notification must be provided pursuant to WAC 434-335-290 and 434-335-320.
There is absolutely no excuse for them failing to properly test the system. Instead they would rather skip it and expect us to trust them. The Logic and Accuracy test is the only process of testing the programming of the election. Each election, the program changes. New ballot definition files are created. This is what tells the tabulation software who each bubble ont he balot corresponds to in order to add them up properly. Granted, they didn’t update the bdf, that we know of, but how do we have confidence that they take this testing seriously at all? How many events like this have happened in the past that we didn’t catch?
According to communications received through public records requests, the county was also considering going back to the ClearVote 2.1 they used in 2020 and 2022. The same one that the EAC didn’t certify because the system could accept and count ballots that were from prior elections. See the product advisory notice below, along with the response from the EAC regarding the certification of 2.1.
Failure to Maintain Election Records
King county is also one of the 25 counties that were caught deleting election records after the 2020 election.
To read more about the counties that deleted the records, SEE THIS ARTICLE.
Shift in Voter Patterns?
Like most other counties in Washington, the King County voters apparently shifted their voting habbits simultaneously from 2020 to 2022. It’s still unclear how so many people across the state coordinated this effort, and they all appear to be Democrat voters.
To read more about this statewide shift in voter patterns, CLICK HERE.
Something Needs to Change
King County Election Administrator, Julie Wise, is up for re-election this year. Doug Basler has decided to run against her and is campaigning on transparency for the election process.
King County has the ability to overrule the rest of the counties in statewide elections or presidential races. Even if you are a resident of a different county, King County elections have an impact on your life. If we want to see any change in this state, we need to see change in King County. There should be a statewide focus on getting King County Elections to clean up their act.