Day Four of the Washington gubernatorial election contest trial will focus on testimony from expert witnesses on the statistical analysis of illegal voting and the standards the judge will use for evaluating the testimony. (There’s streaming video of the trial here.)
Yesterday’s main event was the testimony of King County mail ballot supervisor Nicole Way, who admitted in a pre-trial deposition to falsifying a key ballot accounting report, called the “Mail Ballot Report”. The Mail Ballot Report has turned into one of the key issues in the trial and a centerpiece of the Republicans’ claim of fraud. The report’s purpose is to demonstrate to the canvassing board before certifying the election that all absentee ballots that were returned by voters were properly accounted for and that no ballots were stuffed or destroyed. As Way testified, the county’s new computer system was unable to produce the actual number of absentee ballots returned, so she fabricated that number and created a falsely perfect reconciliation. She also testified that upper management ignored her earlier warnings about shortcomings in the new computer system and accepted her falsified report knowing how it was produced. The most dramatic moment came when the judge questioned Way from the bench. She told him that the computer system used in earlier elections had enabled her to obtain an independent number of the ballots returned, thus facilitating a valid reconciliation.
Way’s testimony should support the Republicans’ claim that election officials knowingly failed to do their statutory duty to reconcile ballots and protect the integrity of the election. This ties in with the Republicans’ claim that King County tabulated 875 more absentee ballots than there were voters, which could not have happened had election officials done their duty to reconcile ballots tabulated against ballots returned.