As counties in Washington continue counting ballots cast in the 2020 general election, 31st District Sen. Phil Fortunato has asked Secretary of State Kim Wyman to wait on certifying the election results until her office is certain the number of ballots cast exactly matches the number of voters known to have voted.
“With so much attention placed on the presidential election, especially since the outcome in some states is still undecided, it’s more important than ever that our state and local election officials get it absolutely right when it comes to the ‘one person, one vote’ principle before any election results are certified in Washington,” said Fortunato, R-Auburn. “That principle is a cornerstone of our entire country’s democratic foundation. Eroding it means eroding confidence and faith in our form of government.”
Nov. 24 is the deadline for Washington county auditors and election directors to certify their counties’ general election results. Wyman and Gov. Jay Inslee have until Dec. 3 to certify the statewide election results.
Fortunato said he was personally affected by this issue when he narrowly lost his re-election bid as a 47th District state representative in 2000.
“After my loss that year it was revealed how in the 47th District election, 81 people had voted twice and there were more ballots than voters once special ballots and so on were removed,” Fortunato said. “Those kinds of numbers should concern anyone, and I want Secretary Wyman and our county elections officials to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen this year or ever.”
Fortunato today sent a letter to Wyman making the request. Part of it reads: “One of the essential bedrock principles of our democracy is “one person, one vote.” Ensuring that no individual has been able to cast more than the one ballot they are entitled to is critical to maintaining confidence in our electoral system. That is why I respectfully ask that you do not certify any election results this year until you can be absolutely certain that the number of ballots cast directly coincides with the number of voters known to have actually voted in the general election. Such a review will help reassure voters that no person was able to erroneously cast more than one ballot.”
Fortunato says he plans to introduce legislation next session that would allow the secretary of state to engage people to try to register and vote “illegally” as agents of the Office of Secretary of State, much like the Liquor Control Board does by hiring underage kids to illegally buy alcohol.
“My idea would be to see how many times someone could register and vote,” said Fortunato. “If the extra registrations were not caught and the illegal ballots made it through the vote count, the ballot tabulations would be given to a county canvassing board to pull those ballots in question from the final tabulation. The object would be to find flaws in the system.”