KING COUNTY, Wash. — Along the stretch of Interstate 90 through Bellevue, the Trailer Inns RV Park almost looks out of place.
Unlike rows of RVs in campgrounds that are far afield, this facility is a 15-minute drive from the heart of downtown Seattle.
Canvassers who have been prowling King County neighborhoods over the past several months quickly identified Trailer Inns as possible evidence of voter registration fraud.
“We identified 20 voters who were voting from [this] business that rents RV spaces,” the King County Voter Research Project wrote in an eight-page report submitted to King County Elections in April. The report alleged the voters violated RCW 29A.08.010, which requires that voters register at their “residential address.”
The Trailers Inns was the marquee example in the Voter Research Project’s report, in which volunteers examined voter registration records, and then took to the streets, going door-to-door to investigate what they considered suspicious registrations.
The Voter Research Project reported it found 444 “voter anomalies” through its research and that each represented “…potential fraud, waste or error.”
But an investigation by KING 5 shows that the voters at the Trailers Inn aren’t anomalies at all. A representative for the owner said that about two dozen trailer owners live at the park. Some people have lived there for more than 20 years.
“We couldn’t afford a house when we sold ours back in Utah, so we’ve been living in this for almost two years here,” said Dustin Reid, pointing to his 43-foot, fifth-wheel trailer.
Reid and his wife both work for the government and live in the trailer with their two children. Reid’s name is on the Voter Research Project’s list of “voter anomalies," something he’s not happy about.
“I don’t know how they can call us ineligible voters if they don’t actually come out to see. I’ve never met anybody out here that said, 'Do you really live here,'" Reid said.
Director of King County Elections Julie Wise confirmed that a trailer, as well as several other types of non-traditional homes, can be legally registered as a voter’s residence.
“I didn’t see anything on that list that voters were doing anything that’s illegal or inaccurate,” she said.
Wise had her elections team analyze the Voter Research Project’s report.
Voter Research Project’s report lists 417 voters who the group said have “moved” but are still registered to an old address. The law requires voters to register at their current residence.
Wise said many voters move, and the election office may make nearly 100,000 updates to the county’s 1.4 million registration in two months' time.
Wise said the Voter Research Project relied on a database that was quickly outdated.
“Ninety percent of the voters had updated [their] address by the time the canvassers went out to look at the addresses,” Wise said.
She said her team was able to discount the group’s reported anomalies.
“I did not see anything in the report that rises to the level of fraud,” Wise said.
KING 5 has been investigating the “Fraud Crusade” in several western Washington counties as similar groups canvass neighborhoods. They’ve been spurred on by the belief that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” and that fraud and incompetence in local elections needs to be uncovered.
In other counties, Voter Research volunteers have submitted detailed reports that include the name, address, and alleged violations that the group used to determine a voter anomaly.
But the King County group included only sparse details. They listed a voter name, voter ID number, and a one-word description of the violation, which is “moved” in all but 27 of the group’s 444 anomalies.
Unlike other counties, there was not enough information to visit specific addresses. The Trailer Inns RV Park was the only location the KING 5 Investigators could positively identify.
The coordinator of the King County Voter Research Project said there was not any intent to conceal information. He said the report included enough information for King County Elections to follow up on the reported anomalies, which was the goal.
“We are out looking at trying to clean and trying to clean up the voter rolls in Washington state,” said Dave Griffin, a Boeing retiree who leads a group of about 50 volunteers.
Griffin is undeterred by King County Elections finding that his report is full of misunderstandings and inaccuracies.
“I think theirs is room for improvement,” he said of the county’s elections processes. “I don’t know if the word 'fraud' is relevant, but what is relevant is that there are a lot of questions."
Griffin was asked if he is comfortable with local candidates claiming that their election was “stolen” and pointing to his report as evidence.
“The solution is to have clean voter rolls, and the solution is to have clean elections,” said Griffin, even though his report does not provide evidence that the voter registration rolls are inaccurate.
The KING 5 Investigators asked Griffin for a “smoking gun” example of voter fraud, and he pointed to the section of his report that states: “We talked with several HB-1 visa holders and/or their spouses who were registered to vote unknowingly” through Washington’s motor-voter program which makes it easy to vote when applying for a state driver’s license.
“Somehow our system has allowed them to be signed up to allow them to vote,” Griffin said.
Griffin was asked for specific names and addresses so KING 5 could investigate specific cases.
“I’m not saying 'no,'" said Griffin. "I’m saying let me check because I don’t want to give out somebody else’s private information that would put them in jeopardy."
After repeated messages, KING 5 has not heard back from Griffin since that interview.