Sanders Supporters In Washington Allege Voter Suppression: Wrong Caucus Forms Sent?

*It has come to my attention that the caucus forms may not need VAN ID or caucus location on them. Jamal Raad, Washington Democratic Party Communications Director advised that on the forms voters print out after registering, those things should be on the forms. However, he did confirm that VAN ID and caucus location may not be on forms handed out at the actual caucus locations.

Who is responsible for the suspicious fake caucus form being sent out on social media? Some Washington State voters are reporting that they’ve received caucus forms without vital information on them, which could have serious consequences on Saturday. The assumption is that this could be an attempt at voter suppression, regardless of who is responsible for it.

On Reddit’s r/SandersForPresident, user u/uhsomethingsimple reported that some folks in Washington have received incorrect caucus locations. She claimed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has sent out “thousands of letters” to voters in a particular age group with wrong caucus times and locations. She posted no proof of this alleged voter suppression effort, but other users posted images of fake Washington state caucus forms that are circulating the internet. In a separate thread, a Redditor posted a photo of a fake caucus form, claiming it was included in every PCO (Precinct Community Officer) packet. However, the user was vague with details about who was responsible for sending the forms, so it remains unclear if the incorrect caucus forms were, indeed, included in the packets.

The allegedly fake caucus form looks nearly identical to the official caucus form, but it is missing two important elements: the VAN ID and the caucus location. On the pre-printed forms, those are located at the top in a cluster group with the county, precinct and legislative district spaces.

Washington is a unique state in that people can register online and then print out their official caucus forms and take them to their locations. In other states, precinct workers hand out the forms on site. Washington’s unique ability to print your own caucus form could prevent a problem that has popped up at nearly every primary and caucus location thus far: precincts running out of forms.

Washington volunteers have raised funds to print and distribute the official caucus forms at a Bernie Sanders rally, however, this activity would cause more problems than it would solve. A member of a Facebook group, Washington for Bernie, has indicated that handing out caucus forms at a Bernie Sanders event prior to a caucus could lead to accusations of voter suppression, even if the forms are correct. This writer sent Washington’s Party Affairs Manager, Greg Haffner, an email to confirm this information. Haffner quickly replied, confirming that no one should distribute any forms at any events before the caucus.

He advised that sign-in sheets should only be completed at the caucus.

“No one should be distributing blank sign-in sheets. Sign-in sheets should be picked up and filled out at the caucus.”

Democratic party officials have confirmed that both forms are correct. When a voter registers online and then prints out their form, the VAN ID and caucus location will be at the top of the form. If the voter attends their caucus without a pre-printed form, the ones they will be given may or may not have those. According to Jamal Raad, both versions of the form are acceptable.

Bernie Sanders is set to hold more rallies in Washington state, which is heavily favored for him going into Saturday’s caucus. On Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m., Sanders will hold a rally in Yakima at the Yakima Valley SunDome at State Fair Park. On Friday, Bernie is holding a rally at Safeco Field, a baseball stadium home to the Seattle Mariners. The stadium seats more than 47,000 people, and is the largest venue yet to host a Sanders campaign rally.

Because of the rampant incompetence (some allege outright voter suppression) in Arizona, Nevada, Iowa and other states, Bernie Sanders supporters in Washington are keeping close tabs on anything that appears even remotely suspicious. This has led to people like the above supporters to report or even document even the slightest whiff of irregularities in caucusing information.

Despite naysayers who believe Sanders’ uphill climb in terms of pledged super delegates may be too much for him to overcome, the fact remains that he has become a big favorite to win several states. Vox reports that Sanders “probably couldn’t catch up” with Hillary, even if he were to win every state from now until June.

But the reality is that pledged delegates are able to switch their pledge from one candidate to another. This is what could likely happen when these super delegates see an overwhelming support of the Vermont senator. After all, it’s highly unlikely that super delegates will vote directly against the will of the electorate.

After his Idaho win, Sanders nabbed another super delegate pledge. According to Politico, Pete Gertonson has officially pledged to cast his vote for Bernie Sanders at the convention in July. His email detailed not just Sanders’ win in Idaho, but voter frustration as the primary reasons for his support.

“Pent-up frustrations of a red state, exploded Idaho Caucuses to historic numbers last Tuesday night, with 78 percent for Bernie Sanders! I’m proud to be an Idaho Democrat representing the people’s choice. I’ll cast my Super Delegate vote for Bernie Sanders!”

As more voters cast votes in support of him, Bernie Sanders should pick up more super delegates despite the DNC’s alleged voter suppression efforts. For now, all eyes are on Washington state, along with Hawai’i and Alaska, on Saturday as Democrats in those states line up to show support for their chosen candidates.

For those in Washington state who are concerned they may be victims of voter suppression and want to be sure they have the correct caucus forms, Washington State Democrats have a page dedicated to registering and printing out your own forms to take with you to caucus. Saturday’s caucus event begins at 10 a.m., so anyone planning to attend should be at the proper location by 9:30 a.m. Caucus-goers are also advised to plan for at least two hours to participate in the caucuses.

Anyone concerned about possible voter suppression during the Washington caucus can call the state Democratic party at (206) 583-0664 or contact the Bernie Sanders Washington campaign headquarters at (206) 406-8527.

[Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty]