This diary references the voter registration challenges in King County Washington, as diaried (at Kos) here, here and here.  A full chronology of the events can be found here.  Crossposted at Washblog.  Sorry we haven’t hit Booman with this story yet!

I spent a lot of my Thanksgiving discussing and thinking about the incredibly irresponsible and reprehensible (thanks for that turn of phrase, Dick!) bogus voter registration challenges from the GOP and Lori Sotelo.  It started to click in my mind that this is the leading edge of something larger, and the importance of showing the GOP that there are consequences for their actions.  In other words – they need to be taught.  It’s a teachable moment, and we need to seize it.

Before you read on:  Sign the petition for Norm Maleng (best, but not required, to be from King County).  Then tell all your friends to do the same.
The Republican Party of today has apparently decided no laws apply to them.  They feel compelled to act on any and all urges, and are eager to pursue any means to ensure more and more power.  In Ohio and now here in King County, they have decided to try and win elections by challenging voter registrations in Democratic areas.  Lori Sotelo, in her eagerness to cheat voters of the franchise, has now been shown to be a liar, poor manager of volunteers, and bad person – willing to blame those volunteers for her poor decisions and perjurous actions.  What should become of her, and why is it important?

Republicans around the country are watching these challenges, to see if they’re successful and plan their own attacks on unsuspecting voters.  Every voter  thrown from the rolls will be a victory for them, and a loss for democracy.  

Should people register legally?  You bet your ass.  But the legislature has decided, wisely, that the overwhelming burden lies with those who would challenge voters, not with voters themselves.  The state has chosen to trust people with the franchise, so it is taken at face value that the address given on a registration is in fact the voter’s address.  Election law allows voters to make a mistake; when discovered it must be corrected, but no penalty is appropriate unless the voter intended to defraud the state.  

Republicans don’t like this.  They want voters punished, no matter what.  Changed your name, re-registered, and the county hasn’t purged your old name yet?  BANISHED!  Live on a boat and registered at a PO Box in a best-effort attempt to register legally?  BANISHED!  Have the misfortune to live at an address that matches a mailbox facility somewhere else?  BANISHED!  Homeless, and registered at a public building such as the elections office (according to the law)? BANISHED BANISHED BANISHED! Republicans’ message to voters:  Fuck off.

Republicans watching this travesty unfold need to see what happens when voters are abused.  Actions must have consequences.  The law requires the challenger to provide the actual address of the voter at the time of the challenge; Lori Sotelo failed this in every single case.  The challenge form asks the challenger to sign “under penalty of perjury” that they have “personal knowledge” the challenged voter is not legally registered.  Lori Sotelo definitely failed this test.

Perjury, despite Republican’s newly discovered moral equivalency, is a crime.  This petition will be given to Norm Maleng, King County prosecutor, to put pressure on him to investigate and prosecute Lori Sotelo for perjury.  It’d be nice to bring 1944 signatures from King County voters – and we’ll be looking for challenged voters to sign it as well.

I hate witchhunts.  But this woman intentionally and directly challenged the rights of nearly 2,000 people, causing some of them not to vote, and trying her damndest to get the votes of many hard-working, honest, tax-paying citizens thrown out because of her vendetta.  The GOP and Lori Sotelo have a lesson to learn.  Sign the petition, and then tell everyone you know about it, and ask them to sign it, too.

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