Far-Right Leaders Gather in Washington to Promote Debunked Theories on “Voter Fraud”

On Sunday, August 15, a handful of Washington’s far-right activists and politicians gathered at a church in Snohomish for a “public hearing” on so-called “election fraud.” During the almost four-hour-long event, speakers discussed a litany of conspiratorial claims about fraud in Washington’s election infrastructure, echoing debunked theories from “Stop the Steal” adherents like Mike Lindell, aka the My Pillow Guy.

The so-called public hearing actually included less than 20 minutes of input from the crowd, which came at the very end. It was held at the House Ministry Center, a church that has hit the news repeatedly for allegedly violating the state’s COVID safety protocols

Glen Morgan, a far-right activist, and former “Freedom” Foundation staffer acted as master of ceremonies. His lengthy slideshow on alleged voter fraud roamed far and wide, covering such random topics as kindergartners retrieving cookies from a box, a hypothetical migration of millions of his “best friends” to come flip Washington’s elected seats, and accusing the FBI of not prioritizing voter fraud. An odd complaint considering Morgan gained notoriety in 2018 for sending counterfeit candidate mailings to thousands of homes, in an alleged attempt to sway elections towards Republican candidates.

Washington State Representatives Vicki Kraft (R-Vancouver), Robert Sutherland (R-Granite Falls), Rob Chase (R-Liberty Lake), and Bob McCaslin (R-Spokane Valley) sat on stage for most of the Snohomish meeting. Coincidentally, Rep. Kraft is also a former staffer at the “Freedom” Foundation, and Rep. Sutherland has been an “honored guest” at one of their fundraising banquets.

Washington State Representatives Vicki Kraft (R-Vancouver), Robert Sutherland (R-Granite Falls), Rob Chase (R-Liberty Lake), and Bob McCaslin (R-Spokane Valley) on a stage with Glen Morgan and Seth Keshel.

Rep. Sutherland was credited with organizing the event, inspired by his attendance at Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. During the Snohomish meeting, Rep. Kraft also claimed to have attended Lindell’s event, a 72-hour voter-fraud seminar where Lindell had promised to prove that China helped Joe Biden steal the 2020 election.

The four Representatives have broken with Washington’s Republican leadership and caucus on their election fraud crusade. In a Seattle Times interview, Washington House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox stated, “It’s not a caucus thing…it’s not an official legislative thing.” Rep. Wilcox added that he has never seen any evidence of systemic voter fraud in the state.

A stronger disavowal came from Washington’s only statewide elected Republican, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who oversees Washington’s elections. In the same Times article, she responded to claims of voter fraud by saying, “these are felony-level crimes, please get that data to the FBI. And if you’re unwilling to do that, you need to stop saying it. Because now you’re spreading misinformation.”

Nevertheless, at the conclusion of the August 16th event, Rep. Sutherland exclaimed to the audience, “We have a mountain of evidence indicating voter irregularities and that something is wrong with our system!” But he made no mention of forwarding his so-called evidence to the FBI, nor did he mention whether it represented the hundreds of thousands of votes needed to swing the 2020 elections in a different direction. 

With no actionable proof of election fraud, and certainly no path to changing election results, Rep. Sutherland and his colleagues seem instead to be focusing on manufacturing an atmosphere of fear and conspiracy about voting. Using bombast and deceit, they are perhaps trying to gird their chances for re-election from an impressionable base of voters. What they are definitely doing is undercutting trust in American democracy and the voting systems that support it. The fact that there are elected officials pushing this poison makes it all the more shameful.