Wednesday evening, Seattle TV station KING 5 erroneously broke what it thought was troubling news about Arcan Cetin, who has been arrested and charged with the murder of five people at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington last Friday. The station reported that Cetin is not a U.S. citizen, but is instead "considered a permanent resident or green card holder," and that despite this status, Cetin "registered to vote in 2014 and participated in three election cycles, including the May presidential primary."
Thursday evening, KING 5 backed away from its claim that Cetin is not a citizen. That's embarrassing, but the specific news about Cetin is hardly the most important thing KING 5 revealed on Wednesday. The big reveal, which remains the case, but which has seldom if ever been reported so bluntly, is this: "(Washington State) elections officials say the state's elections system operates, more or less, under an honor system."
What KING 5 has reported about the state's electoral (cough, cough) "honor system" confirms everything those of us who care about the integrity of the voting process have feared is the case, not only in states which conduct their elections entirely by mail (e.g., Washington, Oregon and Colorado), but in every state of the union where no-excuse-needed absentee voting is permitted.
In my home state of Ohio, Secretary of State Jon Husted is pleased as punch that he has mailed an absentee ballot request to every registered voter in the state. The temptation to vote on someone else's behalf is so overwhelming that Catholic Sister Marguerite Kloos in Cincinnati committed several sins when she did just that on behalf of a fellow nun who died before Election Day in 2012. She was caught several months later, but avoided jail time. She shouldn't have.
Here is the video KING 5 posted Wednesday, during which Washington State's Secretary of State appeared to be on a mission to smile a lot and fake people into feeling okay just because she says things are fine (Note: This video was still posted as of 11 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday night; given how the story has changed, the station may pull the video):
I have only transcribed portions of the video relating to the voting system and the electoral process in general (bolds are mine):
(From 0:26 - 0:37)
WASHINGTON STATE SECRETARY OF STATE KIM WYMAN: Right now, our phones are ringing off the hook at the Secretary of State's office, because people are concerned that this might be a bigger indicator of a bigger problem. And so, we're trying to reassure that (there) is not a bigger problem.
The Secretary of State has no conceivable way of knowing whether there is a bigger problem, as will be seen in the next item.
(1:03 - 1:18)
WYMAN: We don't have a provision in state law which allows us, either county election officials or the Secretary of State's office, to verify someone's citizenship. And so we're in this place where we want to make sure we're maintaining people's confidence in the elections and the integrity of the process ...
The can't (and don't) verify citizenship. So how can she "make sure we're maintaining people's confidence in the elections and the integrity of the process"? She can't.
(1:28 - 2:17, covering all remaining items)
KING 5 REPORTER NATALIE BRAND: While elections officials are just starting to look into the case, it highlights a challenge for the Secretary of State's office in investigating similar cases, since citizenship isn't checked at the Department of Licensing, where a number of voters register. Online, it's an honor system.
It's not a "challenge," ma'am. It's an impossibility.
WYMAN: Our hands are kind of tied, but make no mistake, we want to make sure everybody has confidence that the people who are casting ballots are eligible. So this is certainly going to be a topic in the next legislative session. It's all about balancing access and security, and it's also about instilling confidence in the electorate.
Wyman has as much as admitted that since the State went to all-mail voting back in 2011 — and really well before that, given the preponderance of mail-in voting during several years preceding the state going all-in — there is no reason, except for trusting the "honor" of everyone, that Washington citizens should have "confidence that the people who are casting ballots are eligible."
Mail-in voting and open-ended absentee voting are not about access. They are about abandoning all semblance of reasonable controls in place to ensure that only those people who are eligible to vote can register to vote, and that only registered voters actually vote. They create opportunities for widespread, and as we have seen above, undetectable fraud.
BRAND: I asked the Secretary of State about past challenges based on citizenship, whether or not anyone's voting rights had been revoked because they were not a U.S. citizen, and a spokesman was not aware of any cases.
Well of course not, Natalie. There's no mechanism in place for anyone to mount a challenge. The only conceivable way I think a challenge could be created would be if someone were to see a person who they know is a non-citizen drop a ballot or ballots into the mailbox. Then they would somehow have prevent the mail carrier from picking up the mail or throwing it into the general delivery pile with all other mail. Fat chance (even then the ballot hasn't been counted, so the chances of a successful prosecution would appear to be very low).
Elections were never meant to be conducted on the "honor system," because, as we saw with Sister Marguerite in Cincinnati, the world is not composed entirely of saints, and the temptation to cheat is strong. Despite its botched scoop concerning Arcan Cretin, KING 5 has done a valuable service by finally stating something which should be obvious that the national establishment press has consistently and stubbornly failed to recognize.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.