Bellevue—On Monday, October 23, 2023, a law firm representing the WAGOP delivered litigation hold notices to the King County Elections department, the King County Prosecutor’s office and other public agencies involved in election administration in Washington. The litigation hold notices apply to correspondence and other materials related to specific activities of King County Elections during the recent state primary election that took place in August 2023.
During the ballot counting process of that primary, King County Elections replaced certain computer hardware systems in a manner that appears to violate sections of both state statute and administrative code.
“In light of the apparent decision of Secretary of State Hobbs to disregard these admitted violations of law (a decision we only infer by his refusal to respond to correspondence regarding the matter), WAGOP is evaluating all options, including the prospect of litigation to compel King County Elections to cease its violations of law and comply with all elections related laws in the future.”
Specific materials that the notice demands elections officials preserve include:
- All emails and voicemails between any employee or representative of King County Elections and any person related to any aspect of the conduct of the 2023 primary election.
- All tabulation equipment, including all servers and backup servers (or primary and secondary servers, or servers denominated any other way); server software and any flash drives of data of any sort from the servers; any manufacturers’ manual for tabulation servers; backups and operating manuals for any other network servers used at King County Elections.
- All records of any sort regarding any software or hardware updates performed on any election-related systems including at a minimum records showing the date and time of the update, who performed the update, who was present, what specifically was updated, the procedures followed, and the results of the update; all records of any sort concerning any testing performed, and the results of the tests.
- All correspondence with the ballot printer.
- All records showing the manufacturer make and serial number for all computers of any type or nature on which King County Elections employed election management software for the conduct of the 2023 primary election, including for purposes such as to create ballot layouts, create an election, export an election to any external drive, or to generate Cast Vote Records reports.
- All signature envelopes from the 2023 primary election; all ballots; all signature verification equipment and software used to check the ballot envelopes; all versions of the list of challenged ballots and matchback reports; all scanning and adjudication equipment and software; all Cast Vote Records.
- All daily tabulation records, certification documents and related reports, including the confidence reports and any reports showing adjudication and resolution of changes.
- All lists or records of all election office staff and vendor employees who worked during any part of the 2023 primary election; all lists or records reflecting the presence and names of election observers.
- All pass key records or other entry/exit monitoring of the election facility during the 2023 primary election; all cameras and maintenance logs comprising any kind of recording or record, for whatever purpose created, showing the facilities during the 2023 primary elections.
- All correspondence between any employee or officer of the office of the Washington Secretary of State and any employee, officer, vendor, or other representative of King County Elections from May 1st, 2023.
After the litigation hold notice was delivered, WAGOP Chairman Jim Walsh issued the following statement:
“On behalf of all Washington voters, WAGOP is taking action to assure free and fair elections in our state. We must restore the people’s confidence and trust in our state’s elections. King County Elections has admitted it ‘swapped’ election-related computer hardware in a way that does not comply with state law and administrative code. That county agency now insists that the ‘swap’ had no effect on the primary election results. Whether that statement is true remains undetermined—and beside the point.
“Elections officials in Washington need to follow the law. They need to be transparent and accountable for their actions. Holding county elections officials accountable is the Secretary of State’s responsibility. WAGOP asked the current WA Secretary of State to do so, in this case, in a letter dated September 29, 2023. He has not responded to our request. So, we may have to do his job for him.
“Washington Republicans are committed to making sure that every legal Washington voter’s vote counts. That ballots are counted fairly, legally and transparently. We’re not going to tolerate slipshod practices anymore. No more bins of ballots found after election day. No more dead people or people living in other states voting. This state’s elections must be clean. They will be clean. And WAGOP will do everything necessary to make sure that they are clean.”