January 12, 2005

King County Elections

The bloggers at Sound Politics are making numerous and specific allegations against the King County Elections Office, some of which could have been disproved with only a couple of phone calls. Some select Sound Politics quotes from November, when Rossi was believed to have won:

Seth Cooper, Nov. 30th: If the Democrats were true to their concern that EVERY vote be counted, then why wouldn’t they want ALL the ballots in the state to be manually recounted? Wouldn’t their demand for a manual recount in only select counties show their partiality to voters in King County and other Gregoire-leaning counties over all the other counties in the state? These kinds of tough questions might be avoidable if they simply plead that they are lacking the funds to pay for a statewide manual recount....

Stefan Sharkansky, Nov. 18th: In light of the gubernatorial recont, today's Seattle Times has an article about a 1990 legislative race that flipped in a recount by five votes, and then flipped again in another recount by two votes. Ann Goos, who won the second, but not the first or the third count: ...Maybe she can share some of her Hershey Kisses with Chris[tine Gregoire].

Andy MacDonald, Nov. 18th: When I was in high school in Nevada, my friend's mother, Patty Cafferata, was state treasurer. In her first election, she won by a single vote. A recount reproduced the result. Her opponent sued, but the judge threw the case out, confirming there is no minimum margin of victory. ...But any victory no matter how narrow carries a mandate for a governor ...

Stefan Sharkansky, Nov. 17th: I heard from another observer of the King County vote count. He reports that the last of those “extra” ballots seem to be legitimate. According to the observer many of the ballots had signature problems of some variety and had been put aside awaiting resolution such as follow-up verification from the voter. Others were from the canvassing board where they had been sent for a decision on the voter’s intent in marking, or mis-marking the ballot. The observer said he was confident that there is not fraud involved, just incompetence in the management of the King County elections office. ...As I said before, I would be very reluctant to allege an organized conspiracy of fraud, and I certainly haven't seen any evidence of such a thing. But there does seem to be a lot of sloppiness in the process.

Ambra Nykol, Nov 16th: ...It's clear as day and yet now under the banner of "anti-voter disenfranchisement" we have people calling around the city like ninnies trying to follow up on voters whose votes shouldn't count. Nevermind Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt's petty display of crocodile tears under the guise of "just wanting to get people the right to vote". ...

Their story line throughout the race has been that Democrats are just more likely to commit vote fraud, as per the odious John Fund. However, Rossi had presumably won before the third recount, so apparently any monkey business wasn't that big a deal. During that time Republicans could have raised any and all of the issues they're now raising in demonstrations and through the courts, well before the counties' certification deadlines. Now Republicans hope to raise through innuendo and radio ads issues that could have been investigated and either categorically confirmed or rejected when it was still relevant. Where was their candidate on vetting the electoral process before the Democratic candidate came up with the money to pay for a statewide recount and won it?

The Democrats have been saying that every legitimately cast vote should be counted since the beginning. The courts have enforced their ruling that county elections offices could only revisit their own mistakes, not voter mistakes, after the first count. Now the writers at Sound Politics are calling for a more air-tight election system that we can all have more faith in. At last, something we can agree on.

Gregoire has now been certified and sworn in following an election considered legitimate by Republicans up to the point that the count went against them. Couldn't be more fitting.

Posted by natasha at January 12, 2005 08:19 PM | WA Politics | Technorati links |

There's also a good article about this at Orcinus.

Posted by: Kevin at January 12, 2005 08:33 PM

Sorry about that. I didn't close the anchor tag to The Horses Ass.

Posted by: Daniel K at January 12, 2005 10:25 PM

Hmmm... I guess you don't allow links. Here's the URL then: http://www.horsesass.org/

Posted by: Daniel K at January 12, 2005 10:26 PM

Very nice post, Natasha. And yes, if someone really wants elections to be fair, where every voter has their say, then it is important to have a voting process that is completely transparent.

And perhaps Gregoire, who has had an extremely close call on this, will be a better Governor for the state than if she had won it easily. (It's been interesting to see why she had such a close call.) Let's hope she does not act like Bush who says screw you to those who didn't vote for him.

Posted by: Mary at January 12, 2005 11:19 PM

In a related story, reported in the PI this morning, the state Republican party is starting a recall movement for Secretary of State Sam Reed (a Republican). This movement makes an astonishing statement about the ideologues in that party; that a partisan officeholder should perform his offical acts in a starkly partisan way rather than upholding the public trust even when the public trust defines the essence of that officeholder's job! The hypocrisy, not to mention the shear anti-democracy of this movment is chilling.

tres_arboles, Seattle

Posted by: tres_arboles at January 13, 2005 12:50 PM

tres_arboles, isn't that recall effort the shinanigans an individual not the Rep party? At least on the surface that's what it looks like to me...

I do think it's the symptom of a movement that is so self involved that they have collectively and individually entered the over reach stage...hopefully they'll implode before to awfully long.

It sure would be nice to get back to the middle where we belong.

Posted by: G Davis at January 13, 2005 08:22 PM

"It sure would be nice to get back to the middle where we belong."

The middle of what? Nowhere?

Posted by: natasha at January 13, 2005 11:56 PM

The political middle...each side gets their say and all work together to make the ends meet...

Novel concept, huh? ;0

I'm truly sick of all the bickering...that's all.

Posted by: G Davis at January 14, 2005 12:00 AM

Worst about the whole affair is that while I voted for Gregiore, the candidates are both weak. So either way, we (in WA) lose.

Posted by: khalil at January 14, 2005 12:16 AM

Sms t m tht th rc fr Gvrnr n Wshngtn hs bn lk th Spcl lympcs. N mttr wh wns pltcs n Wshngtn s stll rtrdd!
I live in Oregon and don't see how the people of Washington could feel good about the past election or that EITHER of the two should be in office after all thats gone on.
But Hey, I guess to some politics is really just a big joke!

Posted by: Ron at January 14, 2005 12:43 AM

I've seriously considered if there is ultimately a revote that we insist it be a whole new reelection and get behind another candidate under an outside party.

Problem is, finding a good candidate willing to stick their necks on the line.

I'd love to tell all the politicos to stick it and go with a complete outsider.

Posted by: G Davis at January 14, 2005 06:59 PM

Ron - Consider yourself disemvoweled. I don't care for that sort of crack, so kindly refrain in future.

Posted by: natasha at January 14, 2005 11:51 PM