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Wash. Supreme Court orders sanctions in election lawsuit

Staff Report | June 1, 2022 2:38 PM

OLYMPIA — On June 1, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that the Washington Supreme Court had ordered $28,000 in total sanctions against a group and their attorney who filed a lawsuit falsely claiming voter fraud in the 2020 election.

In the release, Ferguson said his office successfully brought sanctions against the group and the attorney who had filed the lawsuit for their “frivolous legal challenge of the 2020 election,” the release stated.

“Attorneys and organizations who attack our democracy and abuse our legal system must face accountability,” Ferguson said. “We will continue fighting to protect our elections from these baseless lawsuits that push ‘the Big Lie.’”

The group, called The Washington Election Integrity Coalition United or WEICU, has been ordered to pay more than $9,500, and its attorney, Virginia Shogren, has been ordered to pay nearly $19,000 as sanctions for bringing a case totally devoid of legal merit, according to the release. The sanctions will pay the state’s costs in defending the case.

The release also states that Ferguson will now file a complaint in the next few weeks against Shogren with the Washington State Bar Association seeking further discipline.

As part of its case, WEICU alleged that noncitizens were fraudulently registered to vote and hundreds of thousands of ballots cast in the 2020 general election were altered, the release said. The court found the Coalition “offers no competent evidence of voter fraud based on noncitizen voter registration” and the lawsuit was dismissed due to multiple legal deficiencies.

WEICU also filed separate lawsuits in Whatcom, Clark, Snohomish, King, Thurston, Pierce, Lincoln and Franklin counties.

This is not the only challenge to the 2020 election. In January 2021, the campaign for gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp filed a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election. The complaint included sweeping, baseless assertions of voter fraud. The release states the Attorney General’s Office responded by informing the attorney for the campaign that they would seek sanctions if the campaign continued with its irresponsible lawsuit. In response, the Culp campaign dropped its lawsuit the next day.

“Misinformation and disinformation is a threat to the functioning of our democracy,” said Gov. Jay Inslee in the release. “Those who intentionally spread lies and undermine our elections must be held accountable. I appreciate the attorney general’s efforts to ensure truth prevails.”

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