December 21, 2004
I spent a good part of Monday afternoon at the
King Ukraine County Records and Elections, which is the electoral equivalent of a Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
* I first stopped by the Records and Election office [photo], in order to pick up a copy of the latest voter registration file. I'll mention a few of the fascinating things I learned from the voter registration file in a later post. The counter clerk handed me the CD without presenting me with the form she was supposed to make me sign to agree not to use the voter information for commercial purposes. It almost makes you wonder if they also accept voter registration cards from people who didn't sign their card. Oh, wait...
* The lobby wall at the elections office displays a large sign with the "King County Elections Mission Statement" [photo] My favorite line item: "We act proactively by planning ahead and avoiding unnecessary crisis management"
* I then put on my Ukrainian fur hat, grabbed a bottle of 150 proof wodka and rode my cossack steed down to the steppes of Tukwila to observe the recount [photo 1 , photo 2]
* The manual recounting of the ballots is probably reasonably accurate and not the biggest cause for concern here. Every precinct box of ballots is counted by both a Republican and Democrat, who have to agree with each other and with either one of the earlier machine counts or they hand the box to a new group who has to agree with either one of the machine counts or a previous manual count. There's still an opportunity for error and/or cheating, but I think it would be difficult to pull off. Nothing unusual happened at the tables that I was observing. They were merely recounting previously counted boxes and the numbers seemed to reconcile. All of the weird ballots had already been kicked out to the canvassing board.
* The real concern with the manual recount is that they've kept changing the rules to ensure that more ballots get kicked out to the canvassing board for review. The canvassing board consists of 2 Democrats and 1 Republican who consult a haruspex to divine voter intent in creative ways, such as counting a write-in vote for "Christine Rossi" as a legitimate vote for Christine Non-Rossi. The canvassing board then votes along party lines whether to accept the haruspex' recommendation.
* There is a real risk that the partisan canvassing board could invent enough Christine Rossi-style votes to steal the election. In case they don't, there is still the real risk that the Supreme Court could permit
King Ukraine County to count enough of the Donald Duck votes for which signatures don't exist, that they could steal the election. Check in later today for my post where I share some of the fascinating things I learned by cross-referencing the list of the 573 magical mystery voters against the voter registration file.
* Among the people paid to count ballots were several women with big hair, nearly all of them Republicans, and several men with big hair, nearly of them Democrats. The one notable exception was the man wearing a ponytail and kilt who happened to be a Republican.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at December 21, 2004
01:42 AM | Email This
1. What's the deal with 5 other counties counting ballots that were not counted in the previous counts? You all have any info on that? I heard something along those lines earlier this morning on the radio.
It seems very clear to me that the Dems think they have enough votes now to overcome Rossi's wins. Did you see Gregoirovich call him out in the P-I this morning?
And that's with Comrade Berendt calling Rossi "a thief?" Talk about calling the kettle black!
3. The hypocrisy of the Republicans is becoming more and more appalling. The Seattle Times is reporting that Grant County which favored Rossi by 69%, added 52 "found" ballots in the manual recount without consulting their canvassing board, and without keeping them separate after they were counted. 52 votes in Grant County constitute a larger percentage of the Grant County total (0.002%), than does 735 votes in King County (0.0004%). However, I do not see Conservative Grant County getting mocked and berated or accused of criminal activity.
"We act proactively by planning ahead..."
I bet they also "ingest by eating," "concentrate by paying attention," and "read by looking at letters on paper while trying to discern meaning."
I hate mission statements.
1) What Grant county did was just as illegal as what King County wants to do (Read the RCW!
- it is clear that no recanvassing of BALLOTS is allowed in a recount, only a canvassing of votes on the ballots previously canvassed and recanvassed in the original tabulation, and for obvious reasons (to prevent the fraudulent addition of ballots when the recount is happening BECAUSE a single vote may swing the race)).
2) What Grant county did was wrong, but it does not matter; there are not enough votes there to change the election results. I would like to include those ballots in the total in dispute at the Supreme Court, but they have been intermixed with the legal ballots, so its now impossible.
It was precisely to prevent this injustice in KC, where it does matter, that the republicans had to get a restraining order in Pierce County court. Had they not, I have no doubt that the democrat controlled canvassing board would have begun an illegal canvassing of ballots not tabulated in the original counting, and intermixed them with the legal ballots.
3) If you are outraged that some people have been disenfranchised by the incompetence of King County, blame the incompetant democrats who failed to canvass and recanvass the ballots prior to certification of the election results. Don't blame the republicans who have to sue to force the democrats to follow the statutory rules.
If Dino can survive the democrats' lies and subterfuge, and mischaracterization of the issue, so that the sealed ballots already canvassed and recanvassed are accurately recounted, he will win yet again, and you can rejoice that the fools and liars employed at KC elections office will be cleared out. Next time, we won't be in this predicament.
If we have a list of 'voters', is there any way to get a list of felons?
There's the sex offender website, we could cross check that. But is there any simple way to get a WA Felon list?
I posted comments at your site after my own trip down to the Ukraine Counting, ney Recanvassing facility last Thursday. I also spoke about my eperiences with Mike Siegel on 770 AM the next morning.
My experiences were nearly identical to yours. I was also really troubled by the knee jerk of the Elections Board to change the rules last Thursday to try and recanvass any and every ballot that had the slightest possibility of being reinterpreted as "for Gregoire."
This is something the Democrats are ignoring. Instead, they are trying to make Republicans into hypocrites for legal defense of this subjective, partisan technique of swining the election to Gregoire.
Keep up the exposure. This is all adding up to undeniable pressure for King County Elections, the Supreme Court, and if needed another election to assure an accurate result.
I don't get it. If the previous election(s) was/were marked by fraud, why does anyone from John Fund to Jeff B. think that ANOTHER election will be any more reliable?
Seems to me that a thorough housecleaning is needed first, then maybe hold an election - maybe by Aug. 16, 2006?
We're all learning a lot aren't we? Like:
1) That vote counts are typically run in the "good enough for government work" style.
2) There's nothing more important than the integrity of the vote.
3) There's no substitute for civic engagement.
By the way, Sam Reed (R) thinks the 735 should be counted.
Why? Perhaps because other more amenable counties did the same thing?
You all have the Democrat party to thank for paying for this civics lesson and me (I contributed a small sum). Hopefully, after all this is over we'll know a lot more and change things for the better. Can everyone agree on that?
How about a 911 style panel on the issue?
P.S: Shark and the KVI/Falsehood Crowd have sunk to a new low. King=Ukraine? Sorry Shark not even within the same hemisphere. Although I'll admit Ohio=Ukraine or Florida=Ukraine has a fitting ring to it.
11. If the previous election(s) was/were marked by fraud, why does anyone from John Fund to Jeff B. think that ANOTHER election will be any more reliable?
Because the perps used too much of the scalpel in this election - they feared getting caught. Next time they'll use the axe and be ready with their bullhorns when anyone asks any questions!
I happen to agree with you on the "Christine Rossi" ballot, Stefan. It should have been thrown out - period.
But you can't have it both ways in your post on the NYT editorial...
The Board approved that ballot because they claimed the intent of the voter was clear, and the bubble for Gregoire had been filled in.
At the same time, you argue that those San Diego mayoral votes that had a write-in candidate, but no properly filled in oval, should be deemed "illegal."
Either you go by a strict interpretation of the rules, regardless of what the voter does to the ballot, or you have to be willing to accept that there is SOME room for allowing ballots that did not follow the rules, but clearly show the intent of the voter -- such as an otherwise correct ballot without a bubble filled in next to a write-in or an absentee ballot that's only lacking signature verification (as opposed to an unsigned absentee ballot).
Michael - That was my post, not Stefan's. In general I have argued that we should follow the rules, and, if we find the rules lead to unfair outcomes change them later, but not in the middle of an election.
In the San Diego election, the latest New York Times article on the race said that the disputed ballots did not qualify under California law. It would be illegal to count them. The New York Times editorial board wants to count them anyway.
In the same post I said that I suspected that it would be illegal to add ballots during a Washington recount that were not counted in the original count. I deliberately did not go farther than "suspect" because I am not an expert on Washington law, nor even a lawyer.
And I have been consistent for years on the problem of intent. I have argued that the best counts for optical and punch card ballots combine a machine with a hand count for the ballots that can not be read by the machines. If state law allows, I do not object to voting boards attempting to discern intent in the ballots rejected by the machines, though I hope they will have clear standards and will follow the standards without partisanship.
I have no position on the ballot in dispute or your hypothetical cases because I do not know what Washington law allows.
I can not see why you think I am trying to have it both ways, since I have said, over and over, that I simply want to follow the current election laws. (And am open to changing them later if they produce a result that seems unfair to me.)
Let me give you a very simple example: Some jurisdictions require paper ballots to be marked with an X and do not accept a check mark. (Or at least some once did.) I think that is silly, but if I were counting ballots, I would not count those with check marks -- and after the election, I would work to change that rule. Is that clear?
14. "Some jurisdictions require paper ballots to be marked with an X and do not accept a check mark."
That's odd - in Australia almost the exact opposite is true. You're not meant to use either - you're meant to put a '1' next to the candidate you're voting for (and a '2' next to your second choice, etc), but if a tick (check mark) counts as a 1, because that's clearly the voter's intent. An 'X' does not count, because it's not clear whether the voter intended to indicate that she wanted that candidate, or that under no circumstances would she want that candidate. 'X' means 'no', 'crossing out', 'I don't want this'. So crosses are thrown out, while ticks are counted, the exact opposite of the case you cite.