December 08, 2004
Into the abyss

Oh dear, I leave my desk for only a couple of hours and when I come back I find dozens of emails informing me that two counties have turned in their manual recounts already, increasing Dino Rossi's lead to 45 votes. A big thank you to all the vote counters in Mason County who rubbed those extra chads off.

Now I have to design a new table to keep track of the third count. It would be a lot easier if it weren't for that stupid Bennett woman and her 63,000 nonsense votes and all the extra columns that I have to give her.

The State Supreme Court has decided to "add value" and on Monday they will be hearing the Democrats motion to re-examine all of the previously rejected garbage ballots. If the Supremes agree to this, then perhaps we'll get closure on this race sometime in 2009 after we have a jury trial for every ballot with a stray pencil mark and also a mental competence and eligibility hearing for every voter.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at December 08, 2004 10:11 PM | Email This
1. Much depends on the D's attempt to count previously rejected ballots...if they fail, I feel good about Dino's chances. If they succedd, we will likely be looking at GG - Governor Gregoire...ugh.

In any case, whichever way count #3 turns out, expect lawsuits.

Posted by: Kevin S on December 8, 2004 11:21 PM
2. So Douglas Adams was wrong? The ultimate meaning of the universe wasn't 42 after all? Sorry Sir Doug, the answer is now...
Or, as I am quite sure Napoleon Dynamite would opine:
"That Christine Gregoire... IDIOT!"

Posted by: P. Scott on December 8, 2004 11:43 PM
3. At last! Somebody else that gets the irony of 42. To date only my sister got it. Now the fact that Napoleon Dynamite is first in my Netflix queue when it's released is a bit weird.

Zaphod for President in 2008!

Posted by: Matt on December 8, 2004 11:56 PM
4. What do you mean Zaphod in 2008?

Vote for Pedro!

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on December 8, 2004 11:59 PM
5. Has anyone tried to estimate how much extra the state Democratic party (who actually requested the manual recount) is going to have to pay, if Gregoire remains a loser after all is said and done?

RCW 29A.64.030 says that the 25 cents per ballot ($730,000.00 -- actually about $9,000.00 more than they needed -- maybe they paid extra, since they want extra ballots counted) that the Dems put up is just a deposit, and they will pay whatever the actual costs are if they lose. RCW 29A.64.081 provides for adding up the costs of the recount.

King County is hiring at least 250 temporary workers for this recount. (80 recount boards of three people each -- one nominated by each party, plus one supposedly neutral hire, plus five paid observers for each party.) These people are getting union scale of $12.70 per hour for 60 hour weeks, and it will take about two weeks to finish the job.

If you factor in overtime beyond 40 hours in a week, each worker will be paid about $2,000 gross in total. There would also be the payroll taxes and other overhead, which adds at least 10% (employers share of SS, Medicare, L & I, unemployment, etc.) So figure at least $500,000 in wages just for the temporary workers, plus at least $50,000 more for payroll taxes -- that makes $550,000.

King County also gets to add whatever amount represents the normal working time and any overtime that they pay their regular employees who spend time dealing with this recount. And the benefit charges on those hours is much higher, since regular employees have retirement, vacation, holidays, and health insurance, which is quite expensive -- when you figure the actual cost to the county of an hour of "work" from a regular employee.

There are also non-personnel costs, such as the cost of renting the facility for the recount, and various other logistical matters.

I would predict that the costs in King County alone would exceed the Dems deposit of $730,000. And King County is only 31% of the state's registered voters and actual voters.

Other counties may be a bit cheaper than King County, especially since some counties are only paying minimum wages to the recount workers (2/3 of whom in many cases come from party activists, who might otherwise volunteer for this). And the logistical costs might be a lot lower in the other counties as well.

I would think that all of this will add up to at least $1.5 million on a statewide basis. The Dems could be short $800,000 or even a million dollars if Gregoire remains a loser. It might be hard to get motivated donors to make up the difference in this event.

Finally, I think that the Secretary of State and the various counties who were sued should be allowed to add their legal fees in responding to the Dem's lawsuit as a necessary part of the recount costs. Not only did they have to defend against the lawsuit in order to do the recount, but the Dems filed it as well. These fees could be quite substantial, especially since Sam Reed hired Hugh Spitzer and Foster Pepper Shefelmann to defend the state against this lawsuit. The Dems should have to pay these legal fees (regardless of whether they win or lose their lawsuit) if the recount confirms that Gregoire is a loser.

Posted by: Richard Pope on December 9, 2004 12:03 AM
6. And what about damages to each and every WA resident. I mean we begged Gregoire to concede and the Elway poll showed that a majority of us did not want the third recount.

I want compensatory damages for all the lost hours I've spent trolling the blogs and analyzing an election that should have been over Nov. 17th.

Posted by: Jeff B on December 9, 2004 01:18 AM
7. Stefan

I know that the recount is more tables for you, but the web world is counting on you. You have done such a great job on this. I appreciate your work on this.

This is what the web is all about.

Posted by: Ralph on December 9, 2004 06:06 AM
8. Oh no...Rossi GAINING votes in the manual recount?

Where's the outcry? How can this be?

NEW votes being counted??? C'mon Republicans, stand up...all NEW votes are bad no matter whom they are for, right? That's changing the rules (against Rossi's mantr-- after all, you are consistent, right?

If Gregoire were up in the manual, the cries would be deafening (stealing, cheating, manipulating, changing rules).

Outrage, please, we expect it! Can't allow this to happen...credibility counts!

Posted by: tom on December 9, 2004 07:35 AM
9. Republicans will NEVER, EVER be good at lying and theft like Demoncrats. Stealing elections and dishonesty are always GUARANTEED if you vote Demoncrat.

Demoncrats are STILL TRYING to steal Ohio with a 118,775 vote CONFIRMED lead for President Bush. In over 30 years of working in elections, I have NEVER MET an honest Demoncrat! I finally understood that NONE EXIST. Honesty and integrity are pschologically impossible for them.

Posted by: leaddog2 on December 9, 2004 08:13 AM
10. a typo--- psychologically

Posted by: leaddog2 on December 9, 2004 08:23 AM
11. Jimmy Carter was an honest democrat. But that's the last one I remember... They must be out there somewhere, but they just aren't speaking up in Washington right now.

Posted by: Chris on December 9, 2004 08:47 AM
12. PLEASE, someone in Washington, get those outer counties to stop sending in their results. They MUST WAIT until King County reports! Doesn't anyone get this?

Re: sarcasm from the D above - does he think two or three 'new' votes, well within random variation, is the same as 10,000 'found' ballots?

Either Leaddog2 above is right, Ds aren't honest, or other commentators are right, Ds are stupid and mathmatically challenged! I realize that both possibilities are an option as well.

P.S. Re: the Bennett woman - why don't the counties have three partisan observers and one neutral observer? After all, we want all of her votes counted, too, don't we?

Posted by: Mac on December 9, 2004 09:11 AM
13. What an absolutely ridiculous statement leadog. Or maybe you have worked elections in prisons only. Get real. Their are good and bad on both sides of the rainbow. Your statement gives me 100% doubt in your own honesty.

Posted by: jp on December 9, 2004 09:52 AM
14. Tom - There is a very simple explanation for the silence on the "extra votes" for Rossi in Adams County. If you have been following this recount or this site with any regularity, you would already know the answer. Mason County uses punchcard ballots. Hanging chads etc, are not counted when they are run through a machine count. Unlike King County, who already went through their ballots by hand and enhanced their optical scan bubbles to gain votes for Gregoire (which goes against the rules of a machine recount), Mason actually followed the rules for a machine count and ran them through the machine on the 2nd count without looking for partially detached chads etc. So, I would actually expect Rossi to gain votes in those pro-Rossi counties with punchcard ballots in a manual hand recount. The question is whether or not these extra votes in punchcard counties can offset whatever shenanigans King County tries to pull in their recount. That is why Gregoire is asking for ballots not counted the first two times to be reconsidered. She won't make up the difference if they just count the same ballots again by hand - and she knows it.

Posted by: Marc on December 9, 2004 09:54 AM
15. Never met an honest democrat? Just wondering, are *all* republicans honest?

The truth is ALL POLITICIANS LIE (except Jimmy Carter I guess -- the man with admitted lust in his heart...geez).

The list of specific examples is long on both the R and the D side.

Now, I know that not all republicans and democrats are politicians. But the more active you are IN EITHER PARTY, the more you lie. It's a requirement!

Rational thought and political parties don't mix!

Posted by: tom on December 9, 2004 09:54 AM
16. Oops. delete Adams, should be Mason.

Posted by: Marc on December 9, 2004 09:55 AM
17. Skamania is in. Rossi +3, Gregoire +1. Optical Scan county, fyi.

Posted by: Marc on December 9, 2004 10:02 AM
18. More gains for Rossi....I trust the Rs will not accept this gains!

Posted by: tom on December 9, 2004 10:08 AM
19. Tom - Read the above post for more explanation. Short version, this is the equivelent of the 700+ enhanced ballots in King County. Unlike King County, the other counties actually did a machine recount like the rules intended and didn't go searching for voter intent like King. Give back the 700 King County ballots, and then we can start talking ...

Posted by: Marc on December 9, 2004 10:20 AM
20. I'm still curious what King County would do if they walked out of the counting building and found a box (or two, or a truckfull) labeled 'ballots' filled with, well, ballots sitting on the curb.

"Count every vote?"

or perhaps

"Um.. _perhaps_ these aren't legitimate?"

Posted by: Al on December 9, 2004 10:36 AM
21. I pretty much agree with leaddog2.

If you look at the base line for the parties, Republicans being capitalist (make your own way in society, earn what you can ethically), take personal responsibilty for your own actions, try not to force the repercussions of your actions onto the lives of other citizens. (You tend to have people vote "R" who do not claim to be victims. They probably work for a living. They probably believe that you could too, if you chose to. Evidence of this is proven as minorities move into greater affluence outside of urban areas and convert to R's)


dems: As a government, we must make laws to govern every single iota of peoples lives and possessions, doing with them what we choose. (People who vote dem probably believe that people are inherently stupid and selfish and dishonest and incapable of caring for themselves and others. They probably do not take care of themselves, or make good choices as a rule. Thus the need to require the government to do so. These people tend to be largely positions of power or in the position of being a recipient of government dole)

Posted by: Julie on December 9, 2004 10:42 AM
22. Rossi loses one vote in Wahkiakum County. How do you lose votes in a hand recount? Rossi still net +4.

Posted by: Marc on December 9, 2004 11:41 AM
23. Julie....I have no qualms in saying that I think there are corrupt people in both parties.....

I also have no qualms in saying that the most severe capitalist are in the Democrat party...

what strikes be most about the Democrat party is the superificial air of "caring" and "social justice" along the lines of "count every ballot".....its all malarky....

take one Soros and on Barbara Streisand and one Hillary Clinton and what you have are imperialist that want to keep their kingdoms....

and they will vote for and pay for anyone to keep it that way...

don't want those rich children going to public schools that your kids and mine have to go to....

let's face a truth....there are very few politicians that act on ideals alone....if it will pay them something in the end, they're for it....both D's and R's ....although R's at least throw the opportunity to me and you to gain economically from it.....unlike D's who could care less IMO about Joe and Jill average working stiff....

Posted by: lee on December 9, 2004 12:43 PM
24. "That stupid Bennett woman" is the reason Rossi is likely to win, and most of her "63,000 nonsense votes" came from voters who would otherwise vote for Gregoire. Even Rossi's campaign thinks so.

Ruth Bennett's campaign was part of a deliberate experiment to see whether we could pull votes from the D's as effectively as we've pulled votes from the R. She ran on primarily left-wing issues and campaigned to primarily left-wing groups.

If Rossi is the ultimate winner y'all have the Libertarian Party to thank.

Posted by: Jacqueline on December 9, 2004 01:42 PM
25. Jacqueline,
If we win, and if I remember, I'll drop her a little thank you. :)

Posted by: Julie on December 9, 2004 01:46 PM
26. JP,

As a prosecutor, I was part of a Team that sent 22 Demoncrats to prison for election fraud. In my professional association with others across the south and midwest, there have been at least 327 Demoncrats that have been sent to prison for ELECTION FRAUD.

Not one single Republican!


Does that means ALL Republicans are honest? Absolutely NOT! When caught, they are sent to prison for corruption, things like padded contracts, etc. but NOT election fraud. There is a difference. (Corruption is easier to catch and punish).

Posted by: leaddog2 on December 9, 2004 09:37 PM
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