The state Democratic Party has filed motions to dismiss several lawsuits filed by Republican activists seeking audits of the 2020 election and making baseless claims of “electronic manipulation” and “state-wide vote flipping.”
The lawsuits against county elections officials, coordinated by a group calling itself the Washington Election Integrity Coalition United (WEICU), are part of a nationwide push among some Republicans to relitigate the outcome of the 2020 election, echoing former President Donald Trump’s claims of fraud.
The new motions filed by attorneys for the state Democratic Party ask courts to allow the party to intervene in the cases filed in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Whatcom, Lincoln, Franklin and Clark counties.
Democrats seek dismissal of the cases, calling the allegations “entirely unsupported and fantastical,” according to a motion filed in King County Superior Court.
“This election contest is one in a long line of lawsuits promoting conspiracy theories of election and voter fraud that have been thoroughly debunked,” states the motion by attorneys with the Perkins Coie law firm, noting 60 courtroom losses for the Trump campaign and others seeking to challenge the election results.
Loren Culp, the Republicans’ 2020 gubernatorial candidate who lost by 545,000 votes to Gov. Jay Inslee, also filed a lawsuit making fraud allegations, only to abruptly drop the case after a threat of legal sanctions against his attorney.
Tamborine Borrelli, a Gig Harbor resident who leads WEICU, said in an email the intervention by Democrats “appears to be nothing more than a power move by the political elite.”
Borrelli, who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders presidential bid in 2016 before shifting to support Trump, added: “This case is about a fatally flawed electoral system that both the populous left and right have inherent doubts regarding our elections not being transparent, secure or publicly verified.”
The election audit lawsuits appear to be a longshot, based on previous court rulings. The dozens of plaintiffs in various counties filed the cases “pro se,” meaning they have no attorneys. The state Republican Party has not joined in the lawsuits.
In King County, the election lawsuit filed last month by 11 plaintiffs seeks a “full forensic audit” of 2020 ballots to be conducted by Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, an inventor who has promoted discredited election conspiracy theories and who was involved in a recently concluded election audit in Arizona.
The plaintiffs include Doug Basler, who has repeatedly run as a Republican against Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, in the 9th Congressional District.
The lawsuit names King County Elections Director Julie Wise, and claims 6,000 votes were “flipped” in statewide races while over 400,000 votes were wrongly “added.” It provides no evidence, stating the plaintiffs “are informed and believe and thereon allege” those occurrences.
Some state Republican lawmakers and candidates have aired similar allegations and hosted public hearings seeking testimony into irregularities or fraud.
State Reps. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls; Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver; and Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, are among 92 state legislators who have signed a letter calling the 2020 election “corrupted” and demanding an audit similar to one recently concluded in Arizona’s Maricopa County.
That audit confirmed Joe Biden received more votes in the county, but auditors highlighted what they claimed to be anomalies in some ballots and procedures — claims that have been rejected by Maricopa County and elections officials.
In a news release, state Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski said it was “disappointing and frustrating” to see baseless allegations of voter fraud circulated by Republicans. “They seem to think that their path to power is by discrediting our democracy and riling up a far-right base with conspiracy theories,” she said.