I reached-out to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office with the following voting security questions below.
Click here for Thurston County Elections information.
My sincerethanks and appreciation to the fine staff of the Auditor’s Office for all they do to ensure our votes are properly counted:
1. How does Thurston County coordinate to protect voting in conjunction with Homeland Security, the FBI, and other agencies?
We meet regularly with federal, state and non-profit partners to learn more about trends in misinformation campaigns.
We report misinformation to our partners so it can be escalated for labeling and possible take-down.
2. Can you provide updates about potential threats and/or how constituents can report such if they hear of any?
If you see anything at all, email us as soon as possible. You can directly report mis or disinformation to us at email@example.com
The specific categories we’re most worried about are messages that misinform voters about voting dates and procedures and anything that undermines faith in elections.
3. How is the County going to handle “poll watchers” who show up with weapons [at ballot prepossessing centers]? Is there a plan with law enforcement?
We are working with local law enforcement agencies to ensure our voting infrastructure is protected. We have been meeting with our local partners for months to share updates and coordinate efforts.
4. What measures are in place to protect against my ballot being suspended by someone else through VoteWA?
We have measures in place to ensure the balloted matches the voter. If it was “suspended” it really means that it will be held for 7 days and then counted.
Only one ballot will be counted per registered voter.
Counties will process all ballots received, once the signature is verified on the envelope.
Once a returned ballot is received by county election offices, the signature on the return envelope is checked against the signature on file in the voter’s registration record.
If the signature matches, the voter receives credit for voting and the ballot is prepared for tabulation to take place at 8 p.m. on election night. Once a ballot has been accepted, no other ballot can be accepted or printed for that voter.
If the signature does not match, the county elections office will contact the voter to cure their signature. If the voter reports they have not returned their ballot, information will be turned over to county sheriffs and prosecutors to be investigated. A new ballot will be issued to the voter if it’s before election day.
This is another benefit of voting early. Voting early reduces the unlikely chance that someone would print a replacement ballot using your name.
At any step along the way, a voter can verify their ballot status on VoteWA.gov
If another ballot is requested the first ballot is put on hold. If the second ballot isn’t received the first ballot is counted.
The state and county elections offices have instituted multiple levels of security over the entire vote-by-mail process, including both electronic and manual measures to maintain the integrity of the election.
Activity on the online portal is monitored 24/7 to detect and prevent unusual activity, and manual backend processes protect against fraudulent attempts.
Voter fraud is a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
5. Why is it possible to access voter records with only a birth-date and name?
Not every registered voter has a driver’s license or state ID card.
A driver’s license or state ID card is required to register to vote online. They are also necessary to change a voter record.
However, once registered, we want all voters to be able to access their records and receive voter services via VoteWA public portal. Therefore, driver’s license or state ID card is not required to access your voter record.
Council votes 5-1 to spend $135,000 in 2019 state funding for study,
Councilor DePinto was lone dissenter, citing “red flags.”
DePinto: too soon to take on more debt after borrowing to buy new city hall/land.
DePinto: This is a large amount of money, “This is a big ask.”
He also noted the lack of transparency, community involvement.
DePinto: “dangerous to move on with the project, especially with the long term financial health of the city in question due to the coronavirus recession.”
Bottom line: The 2008-2009 city council overspent as The Great Recession was taking hold, which stymied their budget in 2009, the effects of which Yelm is still feeling a decade later, while Public Works maintenance/upgrades were deferred.
This council has been told the city requires between $15-$24 million to upgrade the water/sewer system. This while the city is accepting applications for major housing developments on the hope the city will be granted new water rights soon. Now how is the Public Works Dept. going to handle hundreds of new single family dwellings when their systems are so stretched already?
The council did not consider the costs of maintenance for this new building and those operations expenses may be too much to even move forward with this study, something they did not consider when they authorized purchase of a new library building here either. The city is still paying those annual fees for many more years from that debacle.
Yelm has not yet acquired the land where they wish this building to be located!
Why was Councilor DePinto the ONLY council member demonstrating any fiscal restraint due to uncertainties coming from the third peak of the pandemic? Why are this council’s priorities so misplaced? The state legislative fundingdoes not need to be spent now!
“The Yelm City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 13, voted to approve Mayor JW Foster entering a $134,641 contract with BCRA Design to prepare a conceptual design and cost estimate for a proposed educational center and business incubator to be built on the corner of Third Street and Washington Street.
“The study, which is being paid for exclusively through state legislative funding the city received during the 2019 session, was passed 5-1 by the council during a regular business meeting, with council member James Blair absent for the vote.”
“Council member Joe DePinto, who was the lone dissenting vote on the contract, said the action “draws red flags” especially so soon after the city made a purchase on its current city hall and the property.
“‘Regardless, I do believe this is going to cost us a lot of money, and for a study to show us it’s going to cost us a lot of money, I urge council to show some restraint here,’ he said. ‘This is a big ask, I believe.’
“In a followup interview with the Nisqually Valley News, DePinto, an overall opponent of the project, added that he feels there hasn’t been enough feedback from the community at this point to continue with the project.
“‘When they went out for this, personally, I feel that there wasn’t as much transparency,’ he said. ‘This just sets the wheels in motion to go through with it.’
“He also said that while he can understand the city using the legislative funds that have already been awarded, it’s dangerous to move on with the project, especially with the long term financial health of the city in question due to the coronavirus recession.” Read more
“Pete Souza: I photographed Obama and Reagan. Here’s why Trump’s White House is a national disgrace.”
“Our president lies to us every day about little things (crowd size) and big things (Covid-19). He disses allies and calls the press the enemy of the people. That is wrong.”
From NBC News: Pete Souza was the chief official White House photographer for President Barack Obama and the director of the White House Photo Office. A veteran photojournalist, Souza was previously the official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan. Souza is the bestselling author of several books including “Obama: An Intimate Portrait” and “Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents.” His photos are the basis for the new Focus Features and MSNBC Films documentary, “The Way I See It.”
By Pete Souza, former chief official White House photographer:
“I’ve only exchanged four words directly with Donald Trump.
[Thanks and appreciation to Shelley Lucas for collating this list.]
THE TRUMP FAMILY
Ivanka Trump — Acquired 12 lucrative Chinese patents, with fast-tracked approval, while serving as top WH advisor. Named as defendant in lawsuit against Trump Foundation, and banned from serving on a board for any charity for 5 years. Donald Jr. — Actively sought Russian assistance in election campaign. Named as defendant in lawsuit against Trump Foundation, and banned from serving on a board for any charity for 5 years. A recent federal court filing suggests the Trump Organization he leads is under investigation for ‘insurance and bank fraud.’ Eric Trump — Eric Trump Foundation charity investigated for making payments to Trump businesses. Named as defendant in lawsuit against Trump Foundation, and banned from serving on a board for any charity for 5 years. A recent federal court filing suggests the Trump Organization he leads is under investigation for ‘insurance and bank fraud.’ Jared Kushner — Sought to create a direct ‘back channel’ with Russia for an unknown reason. Had to file more than 40 updates to disclosures for security clearance. Personally conducted Kushner Co. business with Japan at White House. Kushner Co. directly solicited Qatari government funding for troubled 666 5th Ave. (NYC) property, and was declined 1 month prior to Qatar Blockade. Was ultimately bailed out of said property by a Canadian company that is (inadvertently) heavily invested in by Qatar. Kushner Real Estate currently engages in aggressive and questionable eviction practices and litigation to push tenants out of rent-controlled apartments, even during the pandemic. See ‘Dirty Money’ Season 2, Episode 3 — https://g.co/kgs/myGjH1
TRUMP FOUNDATION — Trump used foundation to pay personal debts, make political donations, and boost his election campaign. Charity was ordered to close, all assets distributed to charities, and defendants ordered to not oversee any other charity for 5 years. Criminal charges could also be forthcoming from a further investigation by NY tax authority.
TRUMP ORGANIZATION — Currently under investigation for Bank Fraud (and any number of other illegalities), and participation in hush payments to porn star and playboy playmate. A recent federal court filing suggests the Trump Organization is under investigation for ‘insurance and bank fraud.’
TRUMP ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2016
Steve Bannon, Campaign Manager #3 — Recently indicted and arrested for border wall fraud conspiracy. Paul Manafort, Campaign Manager #2 — convicted felon, 7.5 year prison sentence currently suspended due to COVID-19. Rick Gates, Deputy Campaign Manager — convicted felon, 45 day prison sentence (suspended). Gen. Michael Flynn, Campaign Surrogate and National Security Advisor — convicted felon, pleaded guilty twice, sentencing still pending after next court date. Roger Stone, Campaign Advisor — convicted felon, 40 month prison sentence (commuted by Trump). Michael Cohen, Personal Lawyer/Fixer — convicted felon, 3 year prison sentence currently suspended due to COVID-19. New book Disloyal on The New York Times bestseller list. George Papadopoulos, Foreign Policy Advisor — convicted felon, served 14-day prison sentence.
TRUMP INAUGURAL COMMITTEE
+ Paid extremely inflated prices to Trump Hotel for event spaces… under the direction of Ivanka Trump + Did not claim a number of expensive ‘in kind’ donations, such as event space at Union Station and wine served at events.
Elliot Broidy, Vice Chair of Donald Trump’s Inaugural Committee, former Republican National Committee deputy finance chairman, and former top fundraiser for the Trump campaign — Recently indicted in a foreign lobbying scheme for conspiring to serve as an unregistered foreign agent to defraud the United States.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Event Planner — $26M (25% of the $106M raised) was paid to the company she created 6 weeks prior to Inauguration, the single largest vendor to the event. Was made to be the ‘fall guy’ for any appearance of impropriety by the Inaugural Committee. Currently being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly breaking a nondisclosure agreement in publishing the book.
Louie DeJoy, US Postmaster General — Is literally dismantling the USPS in the middle of a pandemic and preceding a General Election for no discernable reason (except to disrupt the vote? Destroy USPS business so it can become private?). Congress is also calling for an investigation into his investments that are conflict of interest, and his divestment of large amounts of Amazon shares, and purchase of stock options that allow him to buy new shares at much lower rate than current price.
Tom Price, Former HHS Secretary — resigned after exposure of $341,000 taxpayer-paid private and military jet expenses.
Ryan Zinke, Former Interior Secretary — resigned amid a myriad of investigations involving a land deal with Haliburton Co., use of private jet (at taxpayer expense) for personal trips, and threatening Alaska Republican senators re: votes on health care
Scott Pruitt, Former EPA Administrator — resigned amid more than 12 investigations including taxpayer-funded travel, round-the-lock security, inappropriate expenses, use of aides for personal errands, and using his office to pursue a Chik-fil-A franchise for his wife. An estimated $4.5M in inappropriate taxpayer paid expenses.
Ben Carson, HUD Secretary — hired his son as event organizer, canceled $31,000 dining set purchase for his office after media attention.
Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary — initially did not provide standard of proof for use of military aircraft for 8 trips, costing almost $1M, including a trip with his wife to Ft. Knox. (apparently was approved later). Mnuchin’s “deal” to lift sanctions on Rusal was not as ’substantial’ as purported.
Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary — sold $50M worth of Invesco shares, 8 mos. after he promised to, earning an increased value of 14.1 percent.
Betsy DeVoss, Education Secretary — awarded contract worth up to $400M to debt collection company she had divested from just prior to cabinet post.
Elaine Chao, Transportation Secreatry, wife of Senate Majority Leader McConnell, alleged to have favored Kentuckians in meeting with officials seeking grants, meeting with them more than any other state’s representatives. Russian aluminum company owned by Oleg Deripaska who put a mill in Kentucky shortly after MCConnell’s former staffers lobbied to have sanctions lifted.
Brock Long, Former FEMA Administrator — investigated for using government vehicles and personnel to commute between WaDC and his home in North Carolina.
Carl Icahn, Former ‘Unpaid’ Special Advisor — was appointed to advise on regulatory reform. One regulation in particular, dealing with ethanol credits, for which his company received a ’special waiver’ — saved his company hundreds of millions of dollars.
“AARP interviewed presidential candidates for their views on Social Security, COVID-19 and more”
“As we have during past presidential elections, AARP reached out to the candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties to talk with us about the issues important to you. Both President Trump and former Vice President Biden graciously agreed to live phone interviews, which took place in late August. We asked many of the same questions of each, and when appropriate, we followed up. We allowed the candidates to present their views and positions without commenting on the accuracy of their claims. The interviews were edited for clarity and length.
“Both candidates were eager and engaged in our conversations, which focused first on Social Security, then moved on to Medicare, nursing homes and other complex but vital topics. For the record, the candidates’ responses should not be interpreted as an AARP endorsement of any given policy position. AARP is nonpartisan and neither supports nor opposes candidates for office,” by AARP (formerly called the American Association of Retired Persons). Read more from the full report.
How America is seen from outside the country
UK’s Financial Times: Will America tear itself apart? The Supreme Court, 2020 elections and a looming constitutional crisis
Editor’s note: The Nisqually Land Trust has played a vital role in ensuring the environmental health of the Nisqually Basin for future generations. The great strides in acquiring shoreline in an effort to preserve the natural, pristine beauty has been in large part due to the efforts of Joe Kane, the recently retired Executive Director. His vision, passion, and dedication to the mission of the Land Trust deserves recognition, accolades and our sincere thanks and appreciation. Congratulations Joe!
Ten years ago the New York Times ran a front-page story on conservation innovation in the Nisqually Watershed. It came as no surprise to the Land Trust and our many partners here at home. We’d long known that the Nisqually is a small watershed with big ideas – ideas that resonate far beyond our borders. That hasn’t changed.
The Nisqually Indian Tribe’s salmon-recovery program is still the best in the state and a model for cooperative conservation.
The restoration of the Nisqually estuary is still the largest estuary restoration ever completed in the Pacific Northwest. Read more from the 2019 Annual Report.
Joe Kane was a member of the Land Trust Board of Directors from 1998-2004 and was named Executive Director in 2005. He also served as the vice president of the Washington Association of Land Trusts from 2010-2014. He is the best-selling author of the books Running the Amazon and Savages, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic and many other publications.
“We had an amazing evening last [month] raising critical funds for conservation work in the Nisqually. Thanks for visiting with us and for all of your generous contributions. And another big thank you to our night’s host JW Foster!
“The evening was also a very special retirement send-off for our Executive Director Joe Kane. We thank him for his incredible work. He has left a lasting mark on the Nisqually River Watershed,” by the Nisqually Land Trust.
[Editor’s note: The Land Trust raised $44,608 for the Forever Fund of the $45,000 goal.] Read more
Blogger Klein’s Family Foundation is a long-time contributor to the Land Trust.