First Amendment challenge: Gov. Inslee to advance law that makes lying about elections a gross misdemeanor

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Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington announced Thursday that he will advance a bill that makes lying or spreading lies about free and fair elections by elected officials a gross misdemeanor, if those lies have the likelihood to stoke violence.  The law would also apply to candidates for elected office.

“It’s yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” Inslee said to reporters on Thursday.

“January 6 is a reminder not only of the insurrection that happened one year ago, but that there is an ongoing coup attempt by candidates and elected officials to overturn our democracy. They are willing to do this by provoking violence, and today I proposed we do something about that in Washington,” Inslee said in a published statement on his governmental website on Thursday.

“Soon, legislation will be introduced in the state House and Senate that would make it a gross misdemeanor for candidates and elected officials to knowingly lie about elections. The proposed law is narrowly tailored to capture only those false statements that are made for the purpose of undermining the election process or results and is further limited to lies that are likely to incite or cause lawlessness,” Inslee said.

“This legislation attempts to follow the relevant U.S. and state supreme court opinions on this issue. We’re talking about candidates and elected officers knowingly throwing bombs at democracy itself when doing so is likely to result in violence,” Inslee said. “We can outlaw actions that provoke political violence and in doing so also protect our democracy. There is more that can be done by states and Congress to protect our democracy. I am open to any proposal that will protect the will of the voters and the institutions they use to decide who governs them.”

Inslee cited the court case Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969). In that case, it was found that speech that supports law-breaking or violence in general is protected by the First Amendment unless it directly encourages people to take an unlawful action immediately. More about that case at this link.

Inslee is a governor who rules with a heavy hand. In May of 2021, he ordered workplaces in Washington State to not only check employee vaccination documents, but to force employee badges to show their vaccination status, in violation of their health privacy. More about that illegal action at this link.

Washington state has been a hotspot for lawless behavior by Antifa, Black Lives Matter, anarchists, and other leftist groups during the months leading up to the 2020 election. Those activities gained national attention as leftists took over a section of downtown Seattle, vandalized and set fire to buildings, and clashed with police for weeks on end.

But rather than focus on actual lawlessness, Inslee’s new bill is aimed at conservatives who have legitimate concerns about the security of the election process.

113 COMMENTS

  1. I think we should hold elected officials to a higher standard. I don’t have a problem telling them they can’t lie. Lion has always been against the law when you lie to a cop. You’re guilty of hindering Justice. You can’t lie in a court of law after being sworn in.

  2. Actually-This is a good thing. You can’t be convicted unless an investigation is done to disprove your allegations.
    And since they have found discrepancies in multiple states and errors or bad decisions by election officials, you will never get convicted. There is proof everywhere if you look to find it.

    • I suspect that it will be written in a way to put the burden of proof on the defendant. Ever try to prove a negative?

  3. The left is notorious for the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ and this is certainly a case in point.

    Governor Inslee’s statement –

    “January 6 is a reminder not only of the insurrection that happened one year ago, but that there is an ongoing coup attempt by candidates and elected officials to overturn our democracy. They are willing to do this by provoking violence, and today I proposed we do something about that in Washington,”

    This would almost be laugh worthy if it were not so stunning.. I believe this is called ‘blaming the victim’. Well you go right ahead governor and I wish you every success as this is one that will definitely come back to take a huge bite out of your party and Marxist cohorts.

    • Blaming the victim? Are you saying those lying about elections in order to sow distrust in the elections themselves are a victim of something? What are they a victim of?

      • He wrote what he was saying in English. You must be being paid by an agency to come here and twist words around.

          • Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. It’s all about you, John, your keen intellect, your superior knowledge, your interpretation(s), your scything inquiries. In this town, it’s all about you – like Chris Constant. Next?

          • Sorry GA, it’s all about knowing what words mean rather than what you think you want them to mean.
            Some of us speak English. Some of us speak American. They’re not exactly the same.

    • So, you’re saying the gloves are off and so are all bets? If one side can lie, so can the other?
      God help us!

      • Why not?
        .
        What is there to stop anyone from lying? If Dems want to lie, they will, if Republicans want to, what is stopping them from doing so?
        .
        The issue is not that someone lied. It is whether that lie causes someone harm, and if that harm was knowingly inflicted. Politicians lie all the time. It is called campaigning.
        .
        So what is someone lies about election fraud? Unless there is harm caused by the lie, who cares? To pass a law that automatically assumes harm has been caused is a clear violation of the 6th, and possibly the 8th Amendments.

    • But the fascist, authoritarian ‘left’ just keep relentlessly pushing … and pushing … and pushing … never ceasing in their efforts to erode freedom and sanity, in the most outrageous manner possible … and keep ending up getting their way. Why?

    • And those of us who are? Not of the Radical Left, but the alleged Radical Left.
      How about the supporters of the Radical Right?
      You are trading on dangerous territory if the rules are the same for both sides. If you don’t advocate for that, you are in favor of dictatorship.

      • The problem is the rules are not the same for both sides.
        .
        Rep Adam Schiff presented social media posts that he knowingly altered as evidence during a Congressional hearing. But, that’s OK because of his political affiliations.
        .
        The first axiom of politics is always in full effect:
        “It is not the action taken by the person that causes the offense. It is the political affiliation of the person taking that action that causes the offense.”

        • Where the H E Double toothpicks did that nonsense come from? Russia? China? Georgia (the American place)? Trump?
          Without a level playing field, there can be no game. That’s why there are rules in football. And baseball and hockey. And even if they are subject to interpretation, they’d better be the same for both teams or something untoward is bound to happen.

  4. ………but…actually committing election when Democrat will get you two free boosters and a fresh box of masks.
    No wonder Jay Inslee has been called the dumbest person in Washington.

  5. Tell me again why fascism is considered a right-wing phenomenon?
    Because this attack on free speech by a sitting governor right here is textbook fascism.

    • Fascism is a right-wing authoritarian philosophy and form of government throughout history that is characterized by its disdain for democracy, liberalism, and other leftwing philosophies. It simply isn’t a leftwing thing, in terms of right and left philosophical scales.

      One of the 14 points of fascism is discouraging vocabulary in order to reduce critical thinking. Sort of like questioning or simplifying established definitions in order to suit one’s agenda.

      If you think laws against incitement of violence are an attack on free speech, then you probably wouldn’t like to hear about defamation laws in Idaho that come with prison time and fines.

      • John, you have a typically shallow and incorrect understanding of political history. Fascists were NOT “right wing” in any way, shape or form, and battled strenuously with conservatives in every country in which they took control. They were and are, in fact, as much or more an aspect of the same perverse totalitarian movement that spawned socialism, communism and Bolshevism — all are statist philosophies that denigrate and despise personal freedom, and believe that the state is all.
        .
        But don’t take my word for it, just look at the official name of the so-called “Nazi” Party of Germany: The National SOCIALIST Worker’s Party.
        .
        Part of the problem here is the use of the stupid, straightjacked and hopelessly limited and limiting idea of a political left-right so-called “spectrum”. In reality, politics exists in a multi-dimensional spectrum, and trying to force every political belief or movement onto a single line is unrealistic and frankly idiotic. As an example, as a libertarian, my own political beliefs exist NOWHERE on your imaginary left-right ‘spectrum’.

        • Well said. Beyond that, fascist or not, left wing governments are ALWAYS totalitarian. This is the ideology that murdered 100 million, mostly of its own citizens, last century, and it’s the ideology in control in China (why the American left lives the CCP is because they want the same systems here). The same ideology that builds walls around their country to keep people IN, then shoots them in back as they try and climb over—and they do try and climb over because when they take power it soon becomes a place no one wants to live. The same ideology that ships people off to “re-education “ camps, and sets up police networks to eat our neighbors who aren’t loyal to the party. THAT is the left, and power, is what they crave, freedom is what they hate, and they will climb over a mountain of bodies of their own countrymen to sit on a throne of skulls of their own kin, if it means they get to rule. That’s not hyperbole, that’s history.

        • Jefferson, are you intentionally lying, or do you really not know what fascism is? Totalitarianism can be leftwing and rightwing. That isn’t specifically what socialism or communism is, although some forms have been.

          The fact that Nazis called themselves national socialists has nothing to do with their policy. Nazis were fascist. Not socialist. They called themselves national socialists to hide their policy, to an extent, from people who think they were being honest. Apparently you think their name defines their policy, while you ignore their policy.

          I realize trying to expose you to facts can be offensive for you. I realize you try to live in a vacuum, free of any information that might force you to question your limited grasp of politics. I really don’t care though. Time to act like an adult and accept definitions.

          • John, the problem is that your shallow and mistaken definition of “fascism” is patently incorrect. But since it is the establishment position and definition, you of course automatically defend it, being the university-trained automaton that you and every other radical leftist extremist are.

          • And Jeffeson, sir, your definition of fascism is what??
            You realize that Stalinist Russia and Fascist Germany were cut from the same cloth, do you not?

      • Don’t you mean disdain for republics since democracy is another word for mob rule and fascists don’t like that unless its their mob of provocateurs?

        • Democracy is not mob rule. My goodness, you must have failed basis civics class.

          mob rule
          /ˌmäb ˈro͞ol/
          noun
          control of a political situation by those outside the conventional or lawful realm, typically involving violence and intimidation.

          A Republic, in our sense, is a representative democracy. Mob rule is when a mob attempts to take control of an organized political structure. Donald Trump’s attempt to throw out a free and fair election is exactly the kind of mob rule tactics that founding fathers warned against.

          It helps if you know basic english here.

          • Like BLM and Antifa riots?
            The Kavanaugh protestors banging in the door of the Supreme Court?
            The Democrats swarming into the Wisconsin state house and seizing it?
            The violent protests against Trump’s inauguration?
            The mobs pulling down statues in blue states across America?
            The Seattle “summer of love”?
            The ongoing harassment of the Masterpiece Bakery in Colorado for his refusal to bake gay wedding cakes?
            Riots on campuses to prevent conservatives from speaking?
            Mad Maxine telling people to harass conservatives out of the public arena?
            This is too easy. And too long to bother to continue with.
            Side note: never a good idea to insult someone else’s intelligence when yours is so clearly in question.

          • Masked avenger, none of those events were attempts to overthrow the government. And none of them were directed by an outgoing political figure attempting to hold power beyond their elected service.

            Those events were all investigated and prosecuted.

            We are still waiting for prosecution of the january 6th leaders. It would help if Republicans wanted to actually prosecute them.

          • The Constitution calls itself a confederate republic. That’s fine with me. With a democracy 51 percent gets you mob rule. With a republic you get the electoral college and with rule by American common law applied equally to all in clear, plain language. Sorry that’s not approved by you at this time.

    • So you are saying lying is OK?
      I’ll admit that freedom of speech tends toward being able to say anything without being held accountable, but please don’t try shouting “Fire!” in a packed theater.

      • Of course they are ok with lying when their side does it. They have convinced themselves that everyone else lies as much as they do, so they can feel good about their actions. It’s the tale as old as time, for crooks and con artists.

        • John, your classic radical leftist extremist projection of your own sins onto your opponents is as tiresome as it is intellectually and morally insulting.

      • Adam Shiff lied repeatedly about “proof” of Trumps Russian collusion.
        Hilary Clinton swears she was the rightful president.
        Bret Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault.
        Kinda late in the game for developing moral outrage over something the left champions

  6. Do these “leftist groups” donate to a particular Super Pac? Do their members vote? Other than anecdotal statements is there any evidence that these groups aren’t anything other than anarchist thugs who could care less about politics or the law?

  7. ““It’s yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” Inslee said to reporters on Thursday.”
    .
    The reason why this analogy holds any water whatsoever is that yelling “FIRE” in a crowded building when you know there is not a fire results in harm to others. It is knowingly taking an action that will reasonably harm others that is the crime, not “lying.”
    .
    Bad equivalancy.
    .
    How does “lying” about an election harm anyone? Do the election counters lose their jobs? Does the winner get removed from office? Does the counting machine company lose money? (OK, maybe that is possible.)
    .
    For it to be a crime, especially when the 1st Amendment is involved, requires some reasonably expected demonstrable harm. I just do not see it here. Who is harmed if I say the elections are bogus?
    .
    This has zero chance of making it past a District court, forget the Supreme Court.

  8. Coming soon to Alaska.

    Elect stupid people, get stupid laws. A lesson Alaska knows well. What next? Another Alien and Sedition act?

    It’s grossly unconstitutional, but Inslee and most sheep in Washington don’t care. He likes to rule and they like being ruled.

    • I think we are seeing the results of stupid people being elected. Dunleavy’s most significant accomplishment is having a recall submitted early into his term, and Bronson is starting to see the outcomes of his belief that he is King because he won the election.
      Stupid people, stupid attempts to institute stupid laws.
      This used to be a great state.

      • This would be a much greater state if every one of you un-American radical leftist extremists would leave and move to California, where you belong. Why do you even live in Alaska, Homo, when you are spiritually and ideologically so antagonistic to this state? You don’t belong here.

        • No, please stay out of California as well. We have friends and relatives there who do not believe in leftist commie marxist ideologies. From what we have experienced in our travels throughout California, MOST of the people are Conservative. You’ll find the radical extremists in the larger metropolitan areas, where there are large numbers of “voters”. Pretty much like the rest of the country, including Alaska.

        • The Banana Republicans have been in control of the state for the 21 years I have been here. They’ve pandered to the oil companies, drained all of the financial reserves the state has, and are now attacking the Permanent Fund. Our infrastructure is a mess, and we rely on the federal government each year for a huge amount money. Our appetite for “projects to nowhere” goes unabated, wasting funds that could be put to better use elsewhere (try education, for example). I may not belong here, but I do sincerely believe it’s time for a change. If I don’t belong here, who does? The same ol’ same ol’.
          And what’s un-American about having a different take on things. Was this country founded on the philosophy that no men are created equal and that only the rich and powerful have rights? OK, don’t answer that question. It probably was. But things changed and we have progressed. Women can vote. Black people can vote. I know that aggrieves a lot of Americans who think that only rich white males should have power, but it is decidedly where America is going. If that makes me an un-American radical leftist extremist, so be it, but I submit to you that it is the logical progression of what America was meant to be, the land of the free.
          Pray tell me what your vision might be. Government by the few, of the ignorant, for the benefit of the few? That’s where we’re trending now. Try running for office with less than a bazillion dollars.

  9. Thank God the democrats will soon make themselves the arbiter’s of the truth. They have no shame. None

  10. Ideally states will follow the US Constitution which expresses reasons for which one may lose liberty. It does not include political speech in which the people remain 100 percent sovereign. To change the US Constitution the process is the same, one even distinguished man no matter where he is cannot command a US Convention take place to suit his whim. We the people must command it.

    • Saying something in support of that with which all available, verifiable evidence says is not true.
      Faith is not applicable.
      Loyalty to a single person is anathema.
      Denial is futile.
      Ignorance is deadly.
      Faith, denial, individual loyalty, and ignorance are lethal to democracy.

      • Like Trump’s non existent pee tape? Or proof of Russian collusion to get Trump elected?
        Or Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault allegation, Ford’s own allys said never happened?
        Rebuttal is way too easy here.

  11. Absolute lawlessness from this governor and becoming common place. Unfortunately it will have traction in the legislative branches as well. Thought police!

  12. Why do the Dems continually have to clog the SCOTUS dockets with unconstitutional laws, mandates and EO’s?

      • Yes, Homo, our freedoms ARE in imminent danger, and that danger comes from those who keep stuffing dockets with unconstitutional (and unethical) laws, mandates and executive decisions, such as what Governor Inslee is illegally and unconstitutionally attempting to do here.
        .
        Why do radical leftists hate free speech so much? Because the truth destroys their innumerable lies, and so they will do ANYTHING in the desperate attempt to prevent the truth from being spoken.

        • Do you equate free speech with lies or the truth? If you equate it with the truth, there must be standards that show something is true. If you equate it with lies, or truth and lies being of equal value, you are headed in a very different direction. That direction is where “…they will do ANYTHING in the desperate attempt to prevent the truth from being spoken.”
          That is the route Donald J. Trump undeniably chose while he was President.

          • Homo, you are quite an acrobat, to so adroitly dodge the gist of my comment so completely.
            .
            However, once again, you display pernicious combination of arrogance with ignorance that is the hallmark of the contemporary radical (so-called) left. Free speech is free speech, period! It does NOT depend in any way on whether you or anyone else judges that speech to be truthful or not. To suggest otherwise is not wildly arrogantly and elitist in the extreme.
            Making ANYONE, or any body, the supposed arbiter of what is truthful or not is outright totalitarian. But that IS your philosophical base and modus operandi, so it should not surprise us.

          • Nice one, Homo.
            .
            You turned the discussion from stuffing the SCOTUS docket to lies versus truth. Way to close the argument.

        • You have a problem with the SEC holding corporations to this same standard? Keep in mind, this is a good thing. I realize it will be bad for your political side to maintain the lies they are telling to the public. But your side is wrong. Lies are not OK. And should no one be rewarded for telling them. No one.

          • John, you do not have the first clue what “my side” actually is. Hint: it is neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, neither left-wingers nor right-wingers, nor any wishy-washy middle of the roaders.
            I know, I just blew your mind, committing heresy against the false and pernicious concept of some hopelessly restricted left-right political ‘spectrum’.

  13. More than a thousand people have testified about voting irregularities during the election. How many of these incidents have been investigated? We need more people questioning the integrity of our elections, not fewer. And passing laws to stop questioning of the party line is so third world.

  14. Time to pass a law to muzzle Inslee – specific to anything he says regarding muzzling the free speech of conservatives and anything he says to support the free speech and violence of the left. In reality, this is political grandstanding – he can’t be so stupid as to believe this idea won’t last two minutes in the courts… A few words: CHAZ; antifa; blm.

  15. With the constant stream of election fraud being exposed in the Battleground States, the corrupt politicians are becoming desperate to censor and shutdown the truth. Their system of election fraud is being exposed and it is systemic throughout the USA. The American people’s eyes are being opened to how apathetic and ineffectual we have been about managing our Constitutional Republic to prevent this level of corruption. President Trump did us a favor by boldly exposing it. He is a hero and continues to fight for us. We must do the same or lose our freedoms forever! Trump’s social media site, Truth Social comes online in February. I would highly encourage all Alaskans that care about their freedom to register there and be ready to be shocked at the plethora of evidence that will further expose just how corrupt and immoral these folks are. I’m talking both sides of the aisle folks; it is not just a Democrat problem as the Republicans have allot of house cleaning to do!

  16. Questioning election results is a redress of grievances to the government. Protected by the 1st Amendment. So Inslee will get overturned.

  17. Not sure why anyone in Alaska cares about what Washington State does. Fox News, NewsMax et al are all being sued by Dominion voting machines for lying about the election results and repeating lies by Trump and others. There will be no private settlements on these lawsuits adjudicated by judges nominated by Trump

    • What happens in Washington, especially Seattle, migrates here. Basic Alaska history.
      Trump had no bearing in this.
      Funny how important Trump is to the left. He’s almost their Jesus.

    • Looking forward to seeing those lawsuits end up in court. The Plantiff has to prove their case, which would require a level of scrutiny of their systems that I know they are not comfortable with.
      .
      I have a feeling these cases will evaporate before the midterm elections.

  18. I wonder what Hillary would say about this proposal? It’s not a far stretch at all to link the election lies she was spreading after she lost to the riots, arson, destruction of property, looting, rape, and murder across the nation by leftists bent upon destruction and overthrowing our Constitutional Republic (we are not a democracy).

    • She would just give that HeeHaw laugh of hers and say go far it clod stompers. You forgot Bill stealing from the Hatian relief fund. Or her running from the plane under sniper fire that the or even Benghazi. Then there are the whistle blowers that commit suicide by shooting themselves in the back of the head. Hillary and the truth don’t share the same reality.

    • What lies did she tell?

      And we are absolutely a democracy. If you do not know what a democratic republic is, or a representative democracy is, then you do not know what kind of government you have.

      • Really John? “You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you” saying Trump “knows he’s an illegitimate president” and “I know that he knows that this wasn’t on the level. I don’t know that we’ll ever know what happened.”
        .
        If you aren’t familiar with the term Constitutional Republic you have no idea what kind of government we have. We are a Constitutional Republic with representatives elected using a democratic voting method, while some people might call it a democratic republic or a representative democracy we are in fact a Constitutional Republic and not a democracy.

  19. I don’t trust elections anymore. The American Constitution and Bill of Rights mean nothing. Rank voting, dead people voting, people that moved out of State still being counted. Illegal Immigrants voting.
    2020 election stolen.

  20. That’s rich coming from another Brandon that didn’t actually win his position. The rightful Governor, Culp, was at 55% and Inslee at 45% of the vote when KIRO in Seattle called the election for Inslee at 8:17 PM.

  21. Great. Ensure elections are not transparent, wide open for fraud, and put people in jail for calling the government out on it. The presumption of innocence here is on the citizen. The presumption of guilt is on the government. Cheers –

  22. Inslee ran for president. He couldn’t get two consecutive, coherent sentences out of his mouth during the debates. A complete effing IDIOT and moron.

  23. The problem with laws against lying is that sets up arbiters of truth. Which historically leads to righteous vs heretics.
    Soon, history says, the righteous aren’t just content to be right, but must punish the heretics. Inquisition, here we go.
    The Founders, much wiser people than we are, saw the danger in this. They wisely set the fewest possible limits on speech.
    Fascists, however, have no such qualms.
    Inslee may not be a fascist (debatable) but this road leads there. Quickly.

    • The SEC has no problem doing this. Why do you want to give politicians a pass? Are you not sick and tired of the forked tongues politicians speak to us with?

      The idea that facts are liberally biased is only predicated on the notion that someone can put forth their lazy opinion in response to an argument based on credible research, data, and disciplined critical thinking. Conservatives in America (neocons) are not like traditional conservatives that developed their policy with expert input. Take the cyber ninja audit in Arizona. A cyber security company in Florida with zero experience auditing elections is hired by Arizona Republicans to perform a task already carried out by actual experts. Have you heard how that turned out? The company spent a year delaying, spewing lies, and ended up shutting down because the courts finally got involved and said “enough is enough, now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is” and so they promptly closed their doors.

      Inslee is not a fascist. It’s laughable that you would try to hint at it. You can’t even define fascism on your own. You like the idea of being able to spew whatever nonsense enters your brain, but trust me, you wouldn’t like it if your political opposite performed the same word vomit in your direction. This is the irony of it all. Why we can’t we just all agree that if everyone were forced to be accountable for the words they write or say we’d all be better off? It’s a fact. If you were accountable for the nonsense you write, maybe you would think it through first. And if everyone else were held accountable, then maybe they would too.

      • Failure to stick to a topic is an acknowledgement your argument is dead due to lack of validity.

  24. I used to deplore the idea of the Great Divorce (disunion of America). I don’t anymore.
    The fascists who run the pacific states, and those who elect said fascists have a value system incompatible with America. Inslee illustrates that clearly.
    A divorce of the pacific states, including Alaska, is the best remedy for the issues plaguing America.
    Let them live their lives, let us live freely.

    • Our form of government is a guaranteed confederate (friendly) republic with equal footing for all 50 states.

  25. The government requires corporations be honest with their shareholders. The SEC regulates what information is told by corporate leaders, and has the ability to levy fines and/or jail time to those caught defrauding their shareholders.

    So why would we not hold our politicians to a similar to standard? There isn’t a leftwing deep state that makes up facts. The election was either free and fair or it wasn’t. And in either case, evidence supports the conclusion drawn. We learned this lesson in elementary school. Why are grown adults pretending this is bad?

  26. Given the unprecedented procedures implemented on such short notice with justifiable concerns and suspicions for potential election fraud in an emergent environment, saying the election was fair, legal, and devoid of fraudulent activity is, itself, a lie. Implementing such legislation is a not-so-subtle threat toward any who would legitimatly challenge an election on the basis of questionable data – giving nefarious election activity a boost. Just attempting to do this should put him in the exact status as those he is trying to demonize. Abysmal.

  27. The Constitution calls itself a confederate republic. That works nicely for me. With a democracy 51 percent gets you mob rule. With a republic you get the electoral college and with rule by American common law applied equally to all in clear, plain language. Sorry that’s not approved by you at this time.

  28. I watched a documentary of voting irregularities within the prized homeless demographic in Seattle.. A lady living among them had personal knowledge of people who registered to vote and lo and behold when the homeless went to vote someone had already voted for them and they were turned away. They filed complaints. Voting integrity should be a thing.

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