Election 2012

McKenna Camp Paying People to Collect Ballots; KC Elections Advises Voters to Send Ballots In Themselves

By Josh Feit November 2, 2012

The GOP Wants Your Votes. Literally.

According to a story on KOMO TV, canvassers for the King County Republican party are going door to door offering to collect ballots. The canvassers were out this week, and they plan to be out on Monday and Tuesday as well, KOMO reports.

The people the GOPers canvassed, at least the ones quoted in the KOMO story, were pretty suspicious of the process.

It's a novel idea, to say the least, to entrust a political party to handle ballots. King County is a Democratic stronghold, and with 1.7 million voters here, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee is counting on strong turnout in King County—though, we can't imagine he'd be happy about Republican foot soldiers working as ballot couriers.

KOMO reports:

"It was Halloween. There's a lot of tricksters around the neighborhood. I was thinking it was a joke, but they had a very serious look on their face," McDonald said.

The men offered to mail his ballot for him. As it turns out, McDonald had already voted, so the men left. Still, he said it was an odd experience.

"After someone leaves, you're kind of like, did I just get bamboozled? I didn't get bamboozled because they didn't take my ballot, but they sure knew a lot of information about me," he said.

McDonald even called the FBI to make sure the practice was legal. The men also showed up at Jaime Oberg's home, where they received a similar reaction.

"They said they were representatives of the Republican party and they offered to turn in my ballot," Oberg said. "I chuckled and thought, these guys are up to no good."

Meanwhile, it turns out The K.C. GOP has their own "Victory Van" locations where voters are being encouraged to bring their ballots: 



And PubliCola has learned that Rob McKenna's campaign sent an email out today offering to pay people to join the Republicans' effort. (Coincidentally, PubliCola's daily check-in on last-minute contributions found a $58,000 contribution from the state party to the McKenna campaign today.)

"Volunteers will be compensated $10 per hour for a 12-hour shift each day. The WSRP will also provide a $50 gas card for each shift worked. Volunteers will be grouped into teams of two."—McKenna campaign email

The McKenna email said: "This election is going to be close and we need all hands on deck. We're now recruiting volunteers to join the WSRP ballot chase effort for Saturday-Tuesday (November 3-6).

Volunteers will be compensated $10 per hour for a 12-hour shift each day. The WSRP will also provide a $50 gas card for each shift worked. Volunteers will be grouped into teams of two."

The idea of handing off your ballots to party volunteers doesn't sit well with King County Elections. They have posted a note on their website that says:

It’s been reported that King County GOP is offering to collect and return voters’ ballots.

We recommend that voters return ballots to an official King County Elections ballot drop-off location or through the US Postal Service. Voters may use the online ballot tracker to confirm that King County has received their ballot.

Benton Strong, spokesman for the Washington State Democrats, told PubliCola this evening:

"King County has gone to great lengths to make sure voters have ample opportunity to return their ballots, whether it be by mail, in a drop box, or in a mobile drop box. Instead of encouraging people to use these official means, as the County and we have done, Republicans have decided they will literally collect people's ballots. This is a situation fraught with the opportunity for voter fraud."

I have a message in to K.C. Elections and the McKenna campaign.

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