FILE: Vicky Dalton

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton writes the results of a special recall election in 2005. Dalton has served in her elected role since 1998 and recently issued what seemed a warning about the activities of a citizen election watchdog group that was described as "hostile" and "shocking."

(The Center Square) – The Spokane affiliate of the Washington Voter Research Project has completed its investigation into local voter registration rolls and listed anomalies in a final report.

Auditor Vicky Dalton told The Center Square on Wednesday that she has not yet been provided with an official copy of the report.

“I do look forward to seeing the report and the data behind it,” she said.

WVRP began its canvassing efforts last September when trained volunteers were sent into the field to check out anomalies in the local voter registration rolls.

Alene Lindstrand, organizer of the effort to ensure local election integrity, wants to see the report distributed to the county commissioners and Dalton at a public meeting.

“We want a conversation,” she said.

A team of WVRP volunteers went to 849 homes, but did not get responses at 225 of those residences. At these places, people were either not home, inaccessible or declined to answer the door.

Out of the 624 homes contacted, volunteers found that voting data was in order at 47. At the remaining homes, the organization claims it found 1,304 problems, such as registered voters not on the data sheets.

In one of these cases, a family of three registered voters had lived at the address for 13 years but were not on the data sheet provided by the county. They told canvassers that they had cast ballots the entire time they had lived there.

In another case, all four registered voters at one address had moved three years earlier but all had voted in 2020 from that address.

Canvassing also found that 17 deceased people in Spokane County were still receiving ballots and one had been dead for six years.

In addition, there were multiple voter registrations.

For example, women who had married and had ballots sent to them in both names with separate identification numbers. College students were sometimes sent ballots at home but registered again under their school address.

Duplicate registrations were also found among high school students, who told volunteers they had forgotten that they were already registered and signed up again.

WVRP also found ballots being mailed to the wrong addresses as people moved, and voters casting ballots from registered addresses that were no longer viable residences.

Canvassers were told by family members that some of the individuals receiving ballots in Spokane County were registered to vote in the states where they had moved.

Several military families told canvassers that their soldier sons had voted in the county for years, but they couldn’t get officials to quit mailing ballots to their homes.

The Washington Voter Research Project was founded in 2021 by residents with an interest in election integrity, said Lindstrand. The primary purpose of the project was to highlight the need for the cleanup of registration rolls in all 36 counties, she said.

The report finalized this week said canvassers were thanked consistently for their efforts as many people share these concerns.

“People said things similar to ‘Good, we need clean registration rolls,’ or, ‘We care about election integrity,’ stated the report, noting that the comments were unsolicited stated the report.

Very few people were rude but, if they were, volunteers immediately thanked them for their time and left the premises, said the report.

In only one incident was there a problem. As canvassers were leaving one home, they were harassed by a neighbor who had been listening to their conversation through her walls.

What the team documented was not what was widely reported in the media, stated the report.

It was also noted that Dalton then issued a warning to voters about WVRP’s activities not being sanctioned by the county and telling them that they did not have to answer questions.

WVRP said no personal questions were asked during canvassing. When volunteers visited a residence they asked, “Are you or these folks on the data sheet the same ones registered at this address?” in addition to the timelines for the voter to have relocated and if ballots for that individual were still arriving at the address.

Staff Reporter

RaeLynn Ricarte is the author of two books and an award-winning editor and reporter with more than 25 years in the newsroom. She now covers government in Eastern Washington for The Center Square.