Rep. Tarleton said we have to take the offense when it comes to voter security.
Rep. Tarleton said we have to "take the offense" when it comes to voter security. Courtesy of Washington State Democrats

On Monday afternoon State Rep. Gael Tarleton, who's trailing two-term incumbent Republican Kim Wyman in the race for Secretary of State, convened a group of Washington Democrats in front of a post office in Wallingford to raise some hell about the President trying to steal the November election, which is 77 days away if you can believe it.

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U.S. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal put the issue plainly: "Donald Trump and the Republicans and his Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, have launched a coordinated campaign to take away the ability for the Postal Service to deliver ballots, literally working to commit election theft," she said, adding that Trump and his goons have also spread lies about mail-in voting. They falsely claim the practice is somehow fraudulent. It's not.

Last Thursday the President said the quiet part out loud when he tied his opposition to necessary emergency funding for the United States Postal Service to his stance against state efforts to stand up mail-in voting processes before November, essentially admitting he wants to steal the election by making it harder for carriers to deliver the mail on time.

Combined with draconian "cost-cutting" policies enacted by the newly installed Postmaster General DeJoy, a "Trump campaign megadonor" with investments in USPS competitors, this lack of funding will mean ballots in 34 important fucking states might arrive after the election day deadline, which would invalidate them. Since more Democrats than Republicans plan to vote by mail to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus, these delays stand to benefit Trump, who currently trails Biden in the polls by a lot.

At the press conference, Tarleton pointed to a recent report from KUOW about the U.S. Postal Service removing "15 high-speed letter-sorting machines from facilities in Washington state...[in] Olympia, Redmond, Tacoma, Tukwila, Wenatchee and Yakima," and argued that "Republican leaders have been silent while these attacks on our democracy accelerated."

U.S. Congressman Denny Heck went on to name the elephant in the room when he called "office-holders who are not standing up and speaking out...accomplices in this crime." When someone in the crowd asked if he was talking about Secretary Wyman, he said, "Has she spoken up? Then she's complicit."

Back in April, Wyman said, “The impact of the loss of the U.S. Postal Service in this fall’s election would be devastating on our country’s democracy. I can’t underscore that enough," according to the Seattle Times. The Spokesman-Review registered her "concern" over the state now needing to pay "roughly six times the usual per-envelope cost" to mail ballots to people who register to vote or change their address up to eight days before the election.

Tarleton made a series of requests and demands to combat these attacks on our voting system, most of which are already underway.

She asked Governor Inslee to direct the Secretary of State to spend some of the $2.196 million that state lawmakers appropriated for election security on expanding ballot box locations and to "get the word out" about voting early.

Tarleton said Inslee told her he's currently "exploring all options available" to use his emergency powers to "preserve the sanctity of our elections, including expanding ballot boxes, requiring counties to mail ballots out earlier, extending the election certification deadline so we can count every vote, and directing the Secretary of State to draw on election security funding to implement these actions as necessary."

Tarleton also asked Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office to investigate whether the President's actions violate state and federal law, which he says he's already doing, and for Wyman to "put her full support behind any legal challenge the state may bring against the Trump administration's actions."

Finally, she called on Congress to "hold immediate hearings regarding the U.S. Postal Service operations and demand ballot sorting machines to be restored."

After a request from Congresswoman Jayapal, on Sunday U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Congress back from a month-long recess to vote on an emergency USPS funding bill "as soon as Saturday," the New York Times reports. And today the entire Senate Democratic caucus sent a sternly-worded letter to DeJoy requesting answers to several questions related to his new policies and demanding he testify before Congress.

According to the Seattle Times, Wyman and King County election officials "don’t have serious concerns that mail delays will affect the vote count" here, but nevertheless encourage voters to drop their ballot in a conveniently located dropbox or mail their ballot the Friday before election day. (That's October 30th!!!)

Register to vote by October 26 here. Alternatively, if the internet is too confusing for you, you can also fill out a registration form and send it to your county election office. Ballots will mail out on October 15, and they should arrive three to ten days after that. The Stranger Election Control Board's endorsements and legally binding Cheat Sheet will publish that week as well, so you'll have ZERO excuses for not voting the minute your ballot hits your mailbox.

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The USPS has a 91% approval rating, according to the latest Pew study, which is higher than any other government agency. It's also much higher, of course, than the President's own dismal numbers. But he's swimming upstream of public opinion on this because he would love talking about literally anything other than the fact that 200,000 Americans have likely died of the coronavirus due to his incompetence.

In the meantime, if you want to help save the Post Office, tell your friends in red states to tell their representatives to fund the god damned mail, and buy some fucking stamps.

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