Experience with vote-by-mail in Washington state runs contrary to administration’s claims
(OLYMPIA)— Attorney General Bob Ferguson responded today to statements last week from the president and members of his administration that call into question the integrity of vote-by-mail elections. Claiming in a Thursday tweet that a vote-by-mail election would be “the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” the president also added “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
Attorney General Ferguson’s statement:
“President Trump is simply wrong about mail-in voting. Washington state conducts elections entirely by mail, and as Secretary of State Kim Wyman has made clear, Washington has never experienced ‘rampant’ voter fraud.
“Despite clear evidence that vote-by-mail is effective and secure, President Trump continues to claim that mail-in voting will lead to a fraudulent election. His attorney general, William Barr, echoed the president in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last week, saying he thinks ‘there is a high risk’ mail-in voting will lead to ‘massive voter fraud.’
“Let me be clear: There is no data to support this baseless claim. If the president uses it as an excuse to try to illegally delay the election, we’ll see him in court.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we fiercely protect the democratic right to vote for all Americans, and simultaneously, the physical safety of voters. Expansion of vote-by-mail options across the country allows us to achieve both.
“The type of voter fraud the administration professes to be concerned about does not exist; rather, it has been used to justify policies that make it more difficult, and in too many cases, outright prevent, individuals from exercising their right to vote. The impact of these policies is inherently unequal, and disproportionately borne by communities of color.
“Last week, our nation paid tribute to the late Representative John Lewis, an icon of civil rights who fought for fairer election and voting access throughout his life. Honoring his legacy requires steadfastly defending access to the franchise for all.
“Vote by mail works in states across the country, and it works in Washington. This administration must stop misleading the public about non-existent voter fraud and instead ensure that voting is safe and accessible for everyone.”
In response to a congressional request in 2017, Ferguson and Wyman detailed that out of more than 3.3 million votes cast in Washington in the November 2016 election, there were only a handful of potential improper votes and only two prosecutions for fraudulent voting.