U.S. Attorney now looking into reports of King County voter intimidation

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Concerned voters contacted KIRO 7 after signs claiming voter surveillance started showing up next to more than a dozen King County ballot boxes. In the days since, King County’s Elections Chair Julie Wise called for the signs to be removed, saying they’re blatant attempts at voter intimidation. On Thursday, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Nick Brown announced his office is also looking into the strange signs.

“We want to make sure voters can take the time to fill out their ballots and drop those without being intimidated, without being surveilled,” said Brown.

>>Secretary of State addresses election misinformation after signs appear near drop boxes

These signs claimed the boxes were under surveillance and implied people could be breaking the law. The postings also featured a QR code leading to a form on the King County G.O.P official website where you could report suspicious activity. The King County Republican Party has already denounced the signs, issuing a cease-and-desist order to those involved.

“We just want to make clear that that type of activity or any type of activity might be threatening to voters could be a violation of federal law,” said Brown.

According to Brown’s office: “Under federal law, it is a felony to intimidate or threaten other persons to discourage them from voting or for assisting others in voting. This crime is punishable by up to five years in prison.”

However, before any of that comes to fruition, intent must be identified. FBI Special Agent Kelly Smith says pinpointing a motive is the top priority for election crimes.

“What is causing someone to do something? Are they trying to interfere in the election?” said Smith.

The special agent says he can’t confirm whether or not the bureau is currently investigating, but if there’s enough evidence, a crime could be charged in the county and federal court.