Group going to voters for information

Clallam County office says it’s not involved

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam County Auditor’s Office is assuring residents whose doors have been knocked on by people seeking voter registration information that they do not represent the county agency.

They are working with the Washington Voter Research Project and are not affiliated with the Clallam County Republican Party, party officials said Monday.

The group, headed by conservative activist Glen Morgan, a former director of the Freedom Foundation, has mounted a statewide effort “to ensure that our votes are not just ‘counted,’ but also to ensure they are not ‘cancelled’ by fraud, incompetence, or other problems which can often occur in any complex government run, bureaucratic system,” according to its website, wavoterresearch.org.

Clallam County Auditor Shoona Riggs, whose office oversees the elections division, issued a press release Saturday that mirrors a Feb. 3 press release from Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall.

Hall, who sent the email to 36 county auditors, was responding to data collected by the Thurston Voter Research Project generated by its door-to-door efforts.

She said after checking the sample of 30 voter records provided by the group, “there were zero discrepancies.”

“What we do know about this group is they spent weeks going door to door canvassing voters without a public announcement, which led to dozens of voters calling our offices,” Hall said. “Many voters clearly thought that it was auditor’s staff canvassing.”

Riggs said Monday her staff does not go door-door for voters’ information.

A voter contacted Riggs’ office Feb. 15 with concerns about two women who stopped by his home Feb. 12. They indicated they were from the Clallam County Election Integrity Committee and were verifying voter information, according to his email.

“They asked several times who at my residence voted in the 2020 election, they didn’t have current information and they made no mention of representing the Republican Party,” he said.

“After they left, we realized that they did not represent Clallam County but the Republican Party.

“This was at best intentional deception on their part and at worst intentional[ly] misrepresented … Clallam County authority. I am sending this to you as a complaint about the deceptive practices of this group.”

Riggs intended, with the press release, “to notify voters that possibly people or a group are going around asking questions about their voter registration, and I wanted to get in front of misinformation about who they are and let them know the county auditor or election division is not going door to door,” she said.

“The only way we contact people is by phone, mail and email.”

Riggs’ office works with other government agencies to keep voter registration information current, she said.

They include the Office of the Secretary of State, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Postal Service National Change of Address Program, the state Department of Licensing, the Department of Health, the Department of Corrections, the Clallam County Coroner’s Office and the Office of the Administrator of the Courts.

Morgan could not be reached Monday for comment. He did not respond to an email request for an interview.

He was the keynote speaker at the Clallam County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day luncheon in July. The party also features his videos on its website, clallamrepublicans.org.

County Republican Party Chair Sue Forde, who is running for the 24th District state representative seat held by incumbent Democrat Mike Chapman, said Monday the party’s Election Integrity Committee is not canvassing homes.

The committee “is working within precincts and the elections divisions (both state and local) to review the 2020 election for irregularities and to help clean up the voter records,” according to the party’s website.

“They were mistaken if they used the Clallam County Election Integrity Committee because we don’t have people doing that,” Forde said.

She said she is pretty sure the group is from the Washington Voter Research Project.

“A couple of people had said something to me about it,” Forde said.

“Shoona and the others are doing a fantastic job,” she added.

Donnie Hall, a Republican Party precinct officer, said the Voter Research Project’s canvassing effort focused on voter registrations and was conducted by people who wore WVRP badges with their name on them.

Voter registration rolls are public information.

“I believe 200 addresses were identified as problematic,” Donnie Hall said, adding about three dozen registrations should be looked at more closely.

“It’s a first cut in terms of, do we need to dig deeper or are we satisfied,” he said.

“I think we’re going to be, at this point, where we’re satisfied, but we’re wary that efforts like this, maybe in the future, need to be done officially, are worthwhile just as a check.

“My opinion is we’re not seeing massive fraud going on in the voter rolls. We are seeing enough to have concerns but not to be alarmed.

“I don’t think there was any smoking gun.”

In a video on his website, Morgan welcomes those interested “in helping clean up the Washington state voter rolls and dealing with some of the election integrity issues that we have here.”

The goal is to “clean up a lot of crusty voter rolls,” Morgan said.

He said he employs a database to cross reference state voter rolls.

Volunteers in groups of two should go to addresses according to a list “just shy of 60,000” names of voters whose registration records need to be double-checked, Morgan said.

“Not all those are fake voters, but a good chunk of them are, and we just need to help process it so that we can narrow it down to the people that need to be cleaned off the rolls,” he said.

“Because if people who should not be allowed to vote are putting their ballots in, that means the people who are voting are having their ballots cancelled,” Morgan said.

“The truth is, nobody is really paying that much attention to it.”

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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