Fox News 2024-02-24 10:33:38


Embattled Democrat Illinois mayor accused of targeting businesses who don’t pay up

Just hours after reports that embattled Democratic Dolton, Illinois Mayor Tiffany Henyard was under investigation by the FBI, multiple local businesses were said to be raided by local police.

On Tuesday, FOX 32 reported that six individuals have spoken to the FBI about Henyard’s conduct, including business owners, a former village employee and one or more public officials. One complained of difficulties renewing his business license, claiming to suffer from harassment, a raid on his business and being shut down by Dolton police. The U-Haul rental and trucking business owner believed it was retaliation after he refused to donate to a civic event sponsored by Henyard.

FOX 32 reported Wednesday that multiple bars in the town were raided by police the day after the news team visited the businesses amid allegations their licenses were being held up for political reasons. The raids reportedly occurred mere hours after FOX 32’s report about the alleged FBI investigation into Henyard’s conduct was released.  

“Someone seen you go in there. And then two hours after your story aired, the police are at both of these establishments,” said Tammie Brown, a Dolton trustee, told FOX 32.

CONTROVERSIAL MAYOR LAUNCHES WILD TIRADE AT OFFICIALS FOR ATTACKING A ‘BLACK WOMAN IN POWER’ OVER HER SPENDING

Brown went on to suggest that the raids were done as a warning to other businesses: “I’m sure that they were asked to donate, make a donation, and most likely they didn’t make a donation. So you don’t get a chance to stay open if you don’t pay the queen’s ransom.”

“They just rushed in here. Put police at the front door like they were doing a raid on a drug house or something,” Sevone Garfield, the security director of Pablo’s Cafe and Bar, said.

George Mseeh, owner of Pablo’s Cafe and Bar, recalled things were peaceful with “nothing going on.” Then, he said, “Like 10 police cars come in and they start pushing customers from here. And he said if you don’t leave, we’re gonna lock you up.”

FOX 32 reported, “Employees and owners say it’s part of an ongoing campaign of harassment by Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard that is costing jobs and money. Their business licenses have been stripped by Dolton, but they’ve continued to operate with a state license.”

CONTROVERSIAL MAYOR POSTS VIDEO WITH BIDEN JUST DAYS AFTER RIPPING COLLEAGUES FOR ‘ATTACKING ON A BLACK WOMAN’

The Village of Dolton reportedly defended the legitimacy of the raids in a public statement: “The businesses in question both had a hearing with the liquor commission last month and the licenses were revoked at that time. The businesses have a history of violent incidents with patrons and were considered a nuisance to the residents in the community. These businesses are unable to operate without the license.”

Henyard is said to have a close relationship with the local police force.

According to WGN, “Mayor Henyard’s considerable police security detail, which is said to include four to five police squad vehicles or large, unmarked SUVs like Secret Service transport vehicles, according to a witness.”

Brittney Norwood, a trustee in the Village of Dolton, told Fox News Digital last month Henyard spends hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on security, which effectively takes police officers off the streets who should be protecting the town.

“I think that she spends the money on security because she just loves it. She likes the thought of being surrounded by police officers. I think it makes her feel more important,” Norwood said. “The police are simply working under her instructions, but it’s also sad. It’s sad because we need the police patrolling the streets, and they’re with her instead.”

Former Dolton Police Chief Robert Collins, who was fired by Henyard, told FOX 32 in another report that Henyard’s personal police security detail is not only overblown, but used for unrelated tasks.

“We needed those officers to be on the street fighting crime. Instead, we have several officers that are riding around protecting the mayor,” Collins said.

“Officers would be sent out to run errands, do pick-ups, do drop-offs. Whatever the case would be,” he went on to claim.

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Fox News Digital previously reported that the mayor, accused of antics so wild she deserves her own TV show, has been living like a royal, making frequent use of beauty vendors. She reportedly has a combined salary of nearly $300,000 — more than the state’s governor — while the median income for the 23,000 residents of the small town is $24,000. 

Henyard went on a tirade in a public meeting earlier this month, declaring, “I’m the leader,” and slammed fellow officials by saying that despite the fact “y’all are Black” they were nonetheless “beating and attacking on a Black woman that’s in power” over her spending.

The Democrat had also previously posted an Instagram video of herself chatting with President Biden at the White House on Jan. 19.

Heyward and the Dolton police did not respond to requests for comment from Fox News Digital in time for publication.

Fox News’ Hannah Grossman contributed to this report.

Military tracking high-altitude mystery balloon traveling over western United States

The U.S. military is tracking a high-altitude balloon over the Western United States, two U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News on Friday. 

It was spotted by U.S. military aircraft and determined to not be a threat. 

The origin of this balloon and its purpose are not yet known, the two officials said.

The balloon is drifting east in the jet stream. 

TAIWAN REPORTS CHINESE SPY BALLOON SIGHTING AS ELECTION NEARS 

“In close coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) detected a small balloon at an altitude varying between 43,000-45,000 ft,” North American Aerospace Defense Command Public Affairs told Fox News Digital. “The balloon was intercepted by NORAD fighters over Utah, who determined it was not maneuverable and did not present a threat to national security. NORAD will continue to track and monitor the balloon. The FAA also determined the balloon posed no hazard to flight safety. NORAD remains in close coordination with the FAA to ensure flight safety.”

BIDEN CLAIMS CHINESE SPY BALLOON WAS ‘MORE EMBARRASSING’ FOR CHINA, SUGGESTS IT WASN’T ‘INTENTIONAL’

A year ago, a Chinese spy balloon was discovered and shot down after it flew over the U.S. for several days. 

The Pentagon said in June that while the Chinese balloon had “intelligence collection capabilities,” it didn’t collect any data before it was shot down. 

“We also took steps to mitigate the potential efforts of that balloon,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in June. 

Intelligence agencies have concluded that the spy balloon was used for spying, not weather-related issues as China had claimed. 

Information captured by the spy balloon is not believed to have been successfully sent back to Beijing. It is unclear why the spy mission seemed to fail, but officials said intelligence agencies used countermeasures to prevent data collection. 

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The Chinese spy balloon flew from Alaska to the East Coast, where it was shot down by the military over the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 4. 

This is a developing story.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report. 

Trump predicts Haley will get ‘clobbered’ in her home state primary

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump predicts the end is near for rival Nikki Haley.

“She’s getting clobbered,” Trump emphasized at a recent rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, as he touted his formidable lead over Haley in Saturday’s Republican presidential primary in the Palmetto State. “She’s finished.”

“You’re not supposed to lose your home state. It shouldn’t happen,” Trump added Tuesday at a Fox News town hall in Greenville. “She’s losing it bigly.”

The expected win in South Carolina would move Trump a step closer to clinching the Republican nomination, and his campaign, in a memo earlier this week, argued that Haley’s White House bid will end “fittingly, in her home state.”

HALEY ON WHETHER TRUMP WILL WIN THE NOMINATION NEXT MONTH: ‘LET’S SEE IF IT HAPPENS’

The Trump campaign predicted an “a**-kicking in the making in South Carolina” for Haley, and that “the end is near” for her presidential run due to “a very serious math problem” she has in the race to lock up enough delegates to win the 2024 GOP nomination.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN PREDICTS ‘A**-KICKING’ FOR HALEY IN HER HOME STATE, BUT SHE SAYS ‘I REFUSE TO QUIT’

But Haley, the last major Trump challenger for the nomination left standing, remains defiant.

“Some of you — perhaps a few of you in the media — came here today to see if I’m dropping out of the race. Well, I’m not. Far from it,” the former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration said in a major speech minutes after the release of the Trump campaign memo.

“I refuse to quit. South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere,” Haley emphasized.

And she added that “I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

On the campaign trail in the closing days, Haley told her supporters, “I will take the bruises. I will take the cuts. This is going to be messy and I’ll take the hurt, because I believe nothing good comes easy. Sometimes we have to feel pain to appreciate the blessing.”

Haley has also turned up the volume this month in her verbal attacks on Trump, from his legal entanglements to his controversial comments on NATO and the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as well as his mocking of her husband, who is overseas on a military tour of duty.

Trump grabbed a majority of the votes in Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary victories in January, and won by a landslide earlier this month in the Nevada and U.S. Virgin Island caucuses, as he moves toward locking up the nomination.

HALEY ACCUSES TRUMP OF SIDING WITH ‘A DICTATOR AND A TYRANT’ AS SHE BLASTS HIM OVER LACK OF PUTIN CRITICISM

Trump has only made a handful of stops in South Carolina this month, while he has campaigned relentlessly. But the final polls indicate the former president maintains a very large double-digit lead.

While South Carolina is home to Haley, the former president enjoys the backing of the state’s governor, nearly the entire congressional delegation and scores of state lawmakers and local officials.

Veteran South Carolina-based Republican consultant Dave Wilson pointed to Trump’s “groundswell” in the state and highlighted the former president’s “ground forces.”

Wilson, who remains neutral in the primary, also noted that “Nikki Haley is reintroducing herself to South Carolina” because “almost a million people have moved into the state since she was governor.”

But pointing to her undefeated electoral record, Wilson said, “Never underestimate Nikki Haley. Never count Nikki Haley out.”

South Carolina holds an open primary, which means Republicans, independents and even Democrats can vote in the GOP presidential nominating contest, as long as they didn’t cast a ballot in the Feb. 3 Democratic presidential primary.

TRUMP RUNNING MATE AUDITIONS ON THE SOUTH CAROLINA CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Independents helped fuel Haley’s 43% showing in New Hampshire, where she lost to Trump by 11 points. 

But while independent voters have long played a crucial and influential role in the first-in-the-nation primary, they are much less of a factor in South Carolina’s more conservative electorate, where evangelical voters enjoy prominence in GOP contests.

Regardless of the results in South Carolina, Haley has repeatedly pledged to stay in the Republican presidential nomination race at least through March 5, when 15 states hold contests on Super Tuesday.

“We are focused on every state before us. Now it’s South Carolina on Saturday. Then it will be Michigan [which will hold its primary on Tuesday], then it will be Super Tuesday states and we’ll take it from there,” Haley told Fox News Digital in an interview on Wednesday in North Augusta, S.C. “Our goal is that we’re giving voices a chance to be heard.”

On Friday, Haley’s campaign announced it was going up with a national cable ad blitz ahead of Super Tuesday.

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Nearly 800 delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday, with over 150 at stake over the following two weeks. Among the states holding contests on Super Tuesday are delegate-rich California and Texas, while other big states like Florida, Illinois and Ohio will hold winner-take-all primaries on March 19. Polling in many of those states indicates Trump holding large leads over Haley.

The Trump campaign predicted in its memo that the former president would secure the nomination on March 19, even under a “most-generous model” for Haley.

“Let’s see if it happens,” Haley quickly responded when asked by Fox News what she would do if Trump clinches the nomination next month.

Fox News’ Kirill Clark and Deirdre Heavey contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Paige Spiranac jumps to defense of Tiger Woods’ son after he suffers career setback

Paige Spiranac, one of the biggest golf influencers in the sport, came to the defense of Charlie Woods on Thursday after the 15-year-old missed out on qualifying for a PGA Tour event.

Tiger Woods’ son participated in a pre-qualifier for the Cognizant Classic. He shot an 86 and finished 110th among 112 competitors at Lost Lake Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida.

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While expectations are high for the son of one of the greatest golfers to ever play the sport, Spiranac encouraged fans of the sport to tamp down on trying to build up Charlie Woods and just let him play his game.

“How about we let Charlie Woods develop his game without constant media coverage,” she wrote in a post on X. “Golf is mentally challenging enough without all the added eyeballs on him and pressure.”

Charlie Woods has participated with his father in two-some events like the PNC Championship, but trying to qualify for a PGA Tour event is an entirely different beast, especially for a kid of high school age.

RORY MCILROY’S FORMER AGENT SUGGESTS THERE’S A ‘POSSIBILITY’ GOLFER JOINS LIV: ‘IT’S TYPICAL RORY’

He played with Olin Browne Jr., who qualified for the U.S. Open last summer in Los Angeles. Browne, the son of a three-time PGA Tour winner, shot a 72.

Woods has a lot to live up to and being in the social media age probably does not help a bit either. His father was 16 and had won the first of three straight U.S. Junior Amateur titles when he received a sponsor exemption to play his first PGA Tour event – the Nissan Open at Riviera.

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Luckily for Charlie Woods, he has the best coach in the world behind him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MSNBC report warns Biden ‘has a problem’ as his 2020 voters turn on him

MSNBC is sounding the alarm that President Biden “has a problem” in Michigan as a group of voters who backed him in 2020 are turning on him ahead of November. 

On Friday, MSNBC correspondent Yasmin Vossoughian previewed a conversation she had with Michigan Democrats who are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with Biden, specifically over his handling of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war

“Biden has a problem, Alex, in Michigan with the voters that I’ve been speaking to,” Vossoughian told MSNBC’s Alex Witt. “These are all folks that voted for Biden in 2020. They have committed to voting ‘uncommitted’ in the Michigan primary next Tuesday, and two of them are very much on the fence in voting for him for reelection November. The other two absolutely will not be voting for him. They are angry about Gaza, they are angry he has not called for a permanent ceasefire as of yet, and they are angry that he has not come through on the promises he made when he was running for president back in 2020.”

BLACK MALE VOTERS TELL MSNBC WHY TRUMP APPEALS TO THEM: ‘WE’RE BROKE WITH BIDEN… WITH TRUMP, WE HAD MONEY’

Among those Vossoughian spoke with were Farah Khan and Khalid Turaani, founders of the Abandon Biden movement.

When asked whether there was a “pathway forward for her” when it comes to supporting Biden, Khan replied, “Absolutely not.”

“You cannot keep killing people with our money and just keep thinking that ‘Oh, we are stupid enough to elect you again because we’ll fall in line, we’ll forget.’ How can- this is an insult to me as a voter,” Khan said, regarding U.S. support for Israel.

QUESTIONS OF BIDEN’S AGE AMONG DEMS, MEDIA, COMEDIANS KEEP PILING UP FOLLOWING HUR REPORT

Turaani told Vossoughian he’s willing to allow former President Trump to become president again, comparing sitting out in November to the “short-term pain for long term gain” of taking a vaccine.

“I’m willing to let go of Joe Biden and oppose Joe Biden… punish Joe Biden by making him a one-term president and burying his loss with the genocide in Gaza,” Turaani said.

Mikal Goodman, a councilman in Pontiac, Michigan, said Biden’s “pathway forward” to earn his support is for the president to call for a “permanent immediate ceasefire” and “stop aiding Israel in their war crimes.”

“It is… insane to me to have the Democratic Party and the Biden administration sit here and essentially say, ‘if Trump happens, it’s your fault,'” Goodman said. 

“Why is having a Trump presidency more important than those people’s lives?” University of Michigan graduate student Annie Wisner asked. “Why is our democracy more important than thousands of men, women and children being killed?”

Vossoughian summarized her exchange with the Michigan Democrats by saying they are in the position they’re in “because of the Democratic Party” and that this is a “warning shot” in order to demand change.

BIDEN LASHES OUT AT REPORTERS ASKING ABOUT AGE CONCERNS AFTER SPECIAL COUNSEL REPORT: ‘THAT IS YOUR JUDGMENT!’

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“These voters are saying, ‘It’s not on us. This is not our responsibility. It is not our fault. This is the fault of the two-party system in this country. It’s the fault of the Democratic Party for not producing the candidates that we want and for not coming through and following through on the issues that we feel like they need to be following through on. So if we have to go through… this kind of short-term pain of another Trump presidency, that’s what needs to happen,’ as they see it, to break the system,” Vossoughian told Witt. “Because they have slept through so many election cycles in which they see as choosing the lesser of two evils. And they’re exhausted. And that is what I’m hearing most from voters here in Michigan.”

A recent Fox News poll shows Biden trailing behind former President Trump by two points in Michigan.

Former NFL first round draft pick Brady Quinn makes big prediction about Michigan QB

The 2024 NFL Draft is widely expected to feature one of the best quarterback classes in recent memory. USC Trojans star Caleb Williams headlines this year’s class of prospects and is widely expected to be the first player selected in April.

North Carolina signal caller Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels are expected to hear their names called shortly after Williams walks across the stage at the draft in Detroit. Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. also received some first-round consideration, although his injury history could give some teams pause.

JJ McCarthy, who helped lead the Michigan Wolverines to the College Football Playoff National Championship in January, has also declared for the upcoming draft.

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McCarthy’s skillet and overall production was not quite as prolific as the other quarterbacks in this year’s class. Consequently, he has received multiple second or third round grades from draft analysis. However, a former college football star quarterback who was taken in the first round believes that McCarthy will be a day-one selection.

MICHIGAN’S JJ MCCARTHY ESTIMATES ‘80%’ OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROGRAMS STEAL SIGNS

Brady Quinn shared his thoughts on McCarthy and predicted that the former Michigan football star will ultimately land with a team that is drafting within the top 10.

“To me, he’s going to end up being a top 10 pick when it’s all said and done,” Quinn said on CBS Sports HQ. “I think teams are going to love his ability to create and his ability to take off and run, too.”

McCarthy has become one of the most fascinating prospects to discuss at this point in the pre-draft process. His stock has seemingly risen over the past few weeks. 

He also still has the opportunity to try and impress teams at the upcoming combine and his pro day.

Michigan relied heavily on its running backs during McCarthy’s tenure, but he did show the ability to make accurate throws.

Quinn acknowledged the offensive structure that McCarthy played in at Michigan, but also pointed to his ability to showcase his talent when it was necessary.

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“This is a team that’s really run the football incredibly well,” Quinn said in reference to the Wolverines offense.

“[McCarthy] hasn’t had to necessarily dominate games. I’ll still go back to when he’s had to do it, he’s showcased the ability to. … He’s able to layer the ball which is another thing you always hear talked about this time of year. The ability to get it over one defender, but in front of the next or inside a tight window. He showcases all of that. We just didn’t see it as much as we saw with a lot of other quarterbacks who threw the football more.” 

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Ukrainians ‘optimistic’ as war enters third year, but Zelenskyy admits fight has taken toll

Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv spoke out to Fox News as the war with Russia enters its third year, and scars of battle are rife throughout civilian areas.

Most of those interviewed by “Special Report” anchor Bret Baier expressed hope for a resolution that would ultimately keep Ukraine sovereign and safe.

“I try to be optimistic. I didn’t leave Kyiv even when Russian troops were near Kyiv,” said Tanya, a local resident. 

“I always [have been] in Kiev. If we lose, I can’t stay in Ukraine under Russian [control]. I will have to leave but I don’t know – I don’t want this. I want to live in Ukraine. I want to be Ukrainian. I want to live in Kyiv. It’s my city,” she added.

ZELENSKYY’S RETURN TO DC FOR MORE UKRAINE WAR CASH A ‘DISGRACEFUL CHARADE’: SEN. VANCE

Bret Baier walked around a city square, where remnants of Russian vehicles destroyed by the Ukrainian military sat as a testament to its countrymen’s efforts. Not far away, another square featured numerous Ukrainian flags, one for each militiaman lost during the conflict.

“It’s not normal, it’s not OK,” Tanya added. “Everyone in Ukraine has some relatives, some friends who died or who are fighting now, who are in Russian prisons…”

The city’s airport remains closed as long throughout the war, given the unsafe airspace, but an overnight train still shuttles people hours westward to neighboring Poland.

SEAN PENN SPEAKS OUT ABOUT HIS TIME IN UKRAINE, MEETING ZELENSKYY

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Baier his countrymen understand there is no alternative to the way of life people in Kyiv have had to adjust to.

“Of course, it’s difficult… People are tired. Closer to the front lines, it is more difficult, but I think everybody understands for what we are doing this. That’s it. It’s our life, our homeland,” he said.

Another Kyiv resident, Julia, was visiting the memorial to the fallen at Independence Square. She said she was afraid to go there because of the missile attacks in the area, but wanted to express her national pride.

“I really want to cry. Our people are really strong enough, so they are not giving up and they [are] trying to protect our country,” she said.

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Ali, an Iranian-born Ukrainian who grew up in Scandinavia, said conditions in Kiev remind him of when the then-Soviets were trying to occupy Finland during World War II. He recounted how they were rebuffed by the much smaller nation, saying it is an example of trying to “defend your country at any price – so I feel proud.”

Every resident of Kyiv is also expected to download an application to their phone that acts as a digital air raid siren, allowing the population to quickly seek cover during a detected Russian attack.

The dismissal message emitted once the threat subsides appears to be a nod to the United States: “May the force be with you.”

Carrier hikes checked bag fees, joining rivals American Airlines, JetBlue

United Airlines announced Friday it is raising baggage fees, following a similar move earlier this week by American Airlines and JetBlue.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, United Airlines said that they are raising checked bag fees for customers traveling in North America.

Economy class passengers on domestic United Airlines flights will now pay an additional $5, raising the cost for their first checked bag to $40. 

The fee for a second checked bag will also increase to $45 in advance online, and $50 at the airport.

AMERICAN AIRLINES RAISES CHECKED LUGGAGE FEES

The new policy is effective for tickets purchased on or after Saturday, Feb. 24, the airline said.

The Chicago-based airlines said that they have not raised their bag fees for fours years.

United Chase credit card holders, MileagePlus Premier members, active military members and customers traveling in premium cabins can still check a bag for free, the airline said.

The airlines noted that they are updating all of their mainline aircraft with new, larger bins designed to hold more carry-on bags.

UNITED AIRLINES FIRST US-BASED CARRIER TO REVIVE FLIGHTS TO ISRAEL FOLLOWING HORROS OF HAMAS TERRORIST ATTACK

The news comes as American Airlines, Alaska Air and JetBlue all recently raised baggage fees.

According to an annual report from IdeaWorks Co. and CarTrawler, the top 20 global airlines made more than $33 billion in revenue from bag fees last year.

Baggage fees, according to the report, are seen as a “significant component of ancillary revenue” to help carriers offset other costs. 

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In 2023, the $33 billion accounted for about 4.1% of global airline revenue in 2023. It was also an increase of 15% from the $29 billion the companies collected in 2022.

Fox News’ Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.

Washington State’s Republican chair highlights ‘questionable design decision’ for ballots

Washington state Republican Chair Jim Walsh has called having voters write their party affiliation on the outside of their mail-in ballot a “questionable design decision” as some Washingtonians have raised concerns. 

Walsh told Fox News Digital on Friday the requirement to declare one’s party is “codified in law” and is only for the primary, not the general election. 

“The design where the attestation, the declaration is on the outer part of the envelope, that is not state law, that is a guideline, an administrative decision made by the Washington Secretary of State in conjunction with local county level election officials,” he said. 

Walsh added, “That is not statutory, that’s just a questionable design decision by the Secretary of State working in conjunction with the local county elections people.” 

RNC FILES AN ELECTION INTEGRITY LAWSUIT IN MISSISSIPPI CHALLENGING BALLOT COUNTING DEADLINES

Walsh said state Republicans have been trying since 2016 to change the law requiring voters to declare their party “so that people can choose to be unaffiliated,” but have been blocked by the Democrat-led legislature.

One X user snapped a photo of their ballot envelope, showing where voters must declare themselves as Democrats or Republicans, writing on Thursday, “New Washington State envelopes for mail-in ballots. NEVER had to disclose my party declaration on the OUTSIDE of my ballot before. Don’t feel really good about this.” 

Cartoonist Scott Adams reposted it, writing, “How can this be real?” and X owner Elon Musk responded, “What!?”

VIRGINIA DROPS LAST REMAINING CHARGE AGAINST DC-AREA ELECTIONS OFFICIAL

Another voter wrote, “QUESTION- Why am I REQUIRED to list party affiliation on the outside of the envelope to VOTE?”

A third X user posted a picture of their envelope, writing, “Washington State Presidential Primary Ballot … you have to declare on the outside of the envelope?!? Also no option for independents! This is how ballots get tossed before they can even be counted!”

“We’re not keen on the law, but we understand it is the law and that we do need to comply both with state law and with some national and with some national party rules,” Walsh told Fox News Digital of the requirement to declare a party. 

He said the “spirit of the law” is to keep voters from people from “gaming the system, being part of one party and trying to vote in the other party’s primary” but he felt there could be genuine security concerns with the declaration being on the outside of the ballot. 

He told Seattle-area radio host Jason Rantz this week that he suggests voters take their ballot to a ballot box rather than mailing it in. 

“Deliver it to a ballot box. Or give it to a trusted person to deliver,” he said.

But Rantz noted in an opinion piece, that “Fraud at the primary stage doesn’t make a whole lot of sense this election cycle. Donald Trump will be the nominee and it’s unlikely any other candidate would come close enough for stealth fraud to take place. And while fraud (and mistakes) obviously occur, there’s been no recent evidence of widespread fraud that would be enough to change national elections. But voters rightly remember the scandal around the recount between then-gubernatorial candidates Dino Rossi (R) and Christine Gregoire (D).”

The Washington Secretary of State’s Office has included examples of protests voters wrote on their ballots in 2016 — in showing voters the correct way to mark their ballot — that included statements such as, “Actually I’m an Independent but if it makes you happy,” “Don’t tell me what I need to be … the voters are furious” and “I feel like I am being forced to choose a party and that’s not fair.” 

The voter’s party declaration choice is removed after 60 days, according to the secretary of state’s office, noting on its website, for the “Presidential Primary only, the major political parties require voters to mark and sign the party declaration. If you choose to participate, your choice of party will not affect how you may vote in future elections. You must mark and sign the political party declaration (box) on your envelope for your vote to count.” 

The office has not clarified why the declaration is on the outside of the ballot. Fox News Digital has reached out to the secretary of state’s office. 

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Fox News Digital has also reached out to the Washington Democratic Party for comment. 

Washington’s presidential primary is on March 12.