BREAKING: Two More SPD Officers Appear to Break Election Law by Using Non-Residential Address to Vote

by Carolyn Bick

The Emerald has discovered that two more Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers have registered non-residential addresses as their voting addresses, thereby apparently breaking voting laws. The discovery follows on the heels of the Emerald’s first article about six other SPD officers, including Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) President Michael Solan, registering SPD precincts as voting addresses.

After receiving another anonymous tip, the Emerald once again looked up and cross-referenced the information with King County Elections Communications Officer Halei Watkins. As of Thursday, July 23, both Officers John Gardenhire and Duane Hendrix are registered to vote using the address of the nonprofit the Seattle Police Athletic Association (SPAA) in Tukwila, Washington. The address is also affiliated with the nonprofit Retired Seattle Police Canine Fund, according to the Secretary of State’s website. Both officers appear to have been registered there since 2018, according to data from King County Elections.

Gardenhire is an officer with the SPD’s Domestic Violence Unit, and has been with the SPD for more than 30 years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Hendrix is a range master and firearms trainer with the police department and the sales manager at the SPAA. His LinkedIn profile also lists him as a supervisor with the City of Seattle, but it is unclear in what capacity.

Watkins said that since the Emerald brought the issue of officers registering non-residential addresses as voting addresses to King County Elections officials’ attention on Monday, “we are looking into it.”

“We will be likely reaching out to all of these voters, as well, and, if the case warrants it, we will refer to the prosecuting attorney,” Watkins said. “Ultimately, it is [the prosecuting attorney’s] call to make.”

Watkins acknowledged that the situation was extraordinary, because it involves police officers, and iterated that any registered voter can challenge any other voter’s address.

“Part of the reason that addresses are public record [is] so that our voters can hold each other accountable,” Watkins said. “So, we are looking into it, but if somebody wants to file an initial challenge, they can do so.”

There are special circumstances that allow people to enroll in an address confidentiality program, but Watkins said that neither Gardenhire nor Hendrix is in that program. People who are allowed to enroll in that program are survivors of domestic violence, victims of stalking, or others who have received credible threats of violence, Watkins said in an email to the Emerald on Monday.

SPD has said the matter has once again been sent to the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) for review.

The Emerald has reached out to the King County Prosecuting Attorney and the OPA for comment and will update this article as more information becomes available.

Editor’s Note: On Sept. 2, the Emerald received a tip that there may be residential units on the property in question. The tip did not come from the officers named in the story, the SPD or the OPA. No one from SPD or the OPA directly contacted the Emerald about this matter. The Emerald will continue to look into this and update this story as necessary.

Carolyn Bick is a journalist and photographer based in South Seattle. You can reach them here and here.

Featured image from the Emerald archives.