January 13, 2005
Good news on military ballots
We had suspicions that KC elections had covered up missing the deadline to mail absentee ballots to the overseas military. We knew for a fact that:
1. DOJ had threatened the state with a lawsuit if they missed the deadline of Oct. 8th; 2. their website fact-sheet said they'd been mailed on Oct. 10th; 3. if this was a typo they hadn't caught it until the Sunday before a Seattle Times article on the subject came out.
Then we got to thinking that there ought to be other evidence out there, and reader Joe O'Donnell did some preliminary research on the bulk mailing records of KC Elections.
Well, no one will be happier than SoundPolitics if in actuality KC did meet the deadline (still inconclusive)... albeit by the skin of their teeth:
Acting under the threat of a federal lawsuit, election officials scrambled to get thousands of absentee ballots out to soldiers, sailors and aviators stationed abroad for the Nov. 2 election.
Accusations about the mailing of military ballots come on the heels of a series of embarrassing revelations about the county's mishandling of about 732 returned absentee ballots, the improper counting of 348 provisional ballots at polling places and an 1,800-vote discrepancy between the numbers of ballots and voters.
"One thing that's personally frustrating for me is that we were busting ourselves to get these overseas ballots out on time," Huennekens said. "This is something I think we should be commended for."
Credit where credit is due, indeed: it merely took threats by the Dept. of Justice to inspire action before the deadline!
Nice to know that if only
King County had the threat of a federal lawsuits to reconcile the number of ballots and voters, handle the returned absentee ballots properly, and to hold provisional ballots for review before counting (and perhaps to eliminate dead and felonious voters from the rolls) it would have been a very different ballgame. And, a different inaugural ball.
Hat Tip, reader Carla.
Posted by Brian Crouch at January 13, 2005
11:23 AM | Email This
Thanks for looking into that Carla.. I saw in other locations you worked to expose the truth on this.
Now can you look into dead voters, double voters, illegal alien voters, voterless ballots, ballotless voters, and illegal registrations?
Any word on the Mexican Mafia completing their work with that Judge? What about word of the judge being investigated by Maleng's office?
Thanks for posting the correction. For your readers who are interested in checking out the facts, my inital findings are posted at PreemptiveKarma.com.
Other people at this blog have asked when I'll look into your other allegations...LOL One thing at a time. :) I have a "real" job and I'm a full time mom, too. As I wrote in other comments, my blog is a part time gig that I do to vent my spleen.
I've not completed my entire investigation on the miltary ballots issue. I've run across several other interesting issues in this regard. I'm still doing the factchecking and sourcing, however. I wouldn't consider it fit to post at this time.
To be fair, Pierce County had similar problems to King County when it came to getting military ballots out on time. See Ervin's story in today's Seattle Times.
It seems disingenuous to me to be riding King County on this issue. Why aren't people here asking why Pierce County had such trouble..when they have a smaller voting populace than King?
Washington State had a very late primary(September 14, 2004).That's 51 days before the election.
It seems pretty unreasonable to expect KC to meet the "45 days before election" deadline that some of the commentors on this blog want to advocate for. That's only six days.
4. If in fact the county can document that they sent out these ballots, great. But I'm personally going to wait for more verification. Others have been asking King County for this documentation and have only been stonewalled. It's a little funny to me that the Seattle Times got an exclusive on it. It would be worth seeing the actual documents.
Did you bother to call Bobbie Egan at King County Elections office and ask her for a copy?
Thank you for posting this Brian, it confirms that folks here are after the truth after all!
Thank you carla for your research efforts!
Has anyone looked into what the USPS has to say about this now? Do they have a log or record of when those overseas ballots actually went out since there is no permit or postmark used?
7. Thank you Brian for the correction, such as it was. I don't mind the inexactness blogging sometimes provides, as long as corrections are made prominently when necessary. You've done that, so kudos.
carla: The pressures to get military ballots out on time are worse than you let on.
The primary election results were certified on Sept. 24. After that, the county needed to print up absentee ballots (in hundreds of styles), verify that they were printed correctly, and then prepare the ballots for mailing.
The fact that they were able to do this within two weeks points to a commendable effort on the county's part, but Brian's recognition of this effort comes grudgingly. Instead of simply admitting that he had it wrong, he insinuates that it took the threat of a DOJ lawsuit to get the county moving.
I don't think the lawsuit threat had much to do with it -- because the county's effort was well underway at the time of the DOJ's threat. The main problem is the late primary date.
My guess is that Joe's "investigation" was completely bogus. I'm especially interested in how he obtained access to private customer account data at the USPS. This kind of information is not covered by FOIA requests.
Carla, why king county?
*Because of the google cache web page of the KC fact sheet discrepancy caught by stefan
*Because of the fact that the KC web page was conveniently updated just before the Seattle Times article broke
*Because Dean Logan is constantly saying things that open the door to suspicion ("numbers inadvertently changed when converted to code" and "ballots went through because they failed to sign in at the polls" to paraphrase a couple...)
I don't think anyone is saying we shouldn't be investigating other counties, but King County is on the list as seemingly having the most discrepencies. If there are similar errors in Pierce, Thurston, and Snohomish then by all means bring 'em out...I'm all for that. It just adds more legitimacy to the GOP request for a re-vote.
11. ...it confirms that folks here are after the truth after all!
LOL! Going after the truth means researching both sides of an issue before reporting -- and there's precious little of that going on around here.
This is advocacy blogging -- not reporting. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) The point is that you have to consider arguments presented here with some skepticism because you're only reading one side.
I read this blog because I'm interested in what this side has to say -- and Stefan does a good job presenting his side of the argument. But I never kid myself into thinking I'm getting the whole story here.
With all due respect to Stefan and the Google cache...that one was a no brainer. Every time a change is made on the King County Elections website, the site notes it on the update.
I don't see how the changed date proves anything, anyway. It looks like a basic data entry error. It's certainly no proof of anything being covered up..especially when the County puts ON THE WEBSITE that the site information has been changed via the date.
scottd: Thank you for the additional information. I was unaware that the certification came so late. So as it stands, it's impossible for any County in Washington to mail out military/overseas absentee ballots in that "45 days before election" threshold.
13. Why should I believe a king county log, or for that matter the seattle times? Why has it taken so long for king county to get the information out. I voted for CG, one of the few democrate I did vote for. I would like a revote.
From the King County “Fact Sheet” of Jan. 5 --
The Federal Voting Assistance Program, a program of the United States Department of Defense monitors services for military and overseas voters. Under federal law, a federal write-in ballot is also available from armed services voting assistance officers to allow service members the opportunity to cast a ballot for federal office. These ballots are accepted and counted even if the service member is not listed as a registered voter in the jurisdiction where they indicate their residence.
Number of Federal Write-in ballots received and counted:
1,342 write-in ballots received and 1,081 validated and counted.
Some reports have indicated a significant number of military and overseas ballots that were received too late to be counted. King County records report a small number of such ballots that were received after the certification of the election.
Number of military/overseas/Federal Write-in ballots received too late:
The Federal Write-in Ballot can be used by registered overseas military voters who realize that their requested regular absentee ballots haven’t arrived in time to vote.
How many of those 1,081 Federal Write-in Ballots contained votes for the governor’s office?
Did King County count any votes for governor on those ballots, if the 1,081 duly registered overseas military voters who used those Federal Write-in Ballots didn’t also send in a subsequently received regular absentee ballot?
Washington did a lot of things to try to make it possible for overseas voters to vote, but I haven’t found anything (other than the settlement agreement that allowed four counties to send those Federal Write-in Ballots out by Oct. 8 in place of regular ballots) which indicates that Washington accepted votes on those ballots for anything other than federal offices.
The “Fact Sheet” from King County says those ballots could be used to vote for federal offices.
It says nothing about using them to vote for state and local offices.
Were all overseas military voters treated equally in the state of Washington?
Whether they were or not, one of the corrective measures Washington needs to take is to enact a law or regulation which authorizes the use of those Federal Write-in Ballots to vote for state and local offices. It’s a way for registered voters to cast their ballots by mail no later than election day when their requested regular absentee ballots haven’t arrived by then.
Not to sound like a Chamber of Commerce type here, but WTF is King County doing using a Snohomish County vendor to handle this or any other mailing? I know there are plenty of folks in King County that could do this...
And by all means, let us not just limit this investigation to King County. If there is other "stuff" going on elsewhere, let us bring it ALL out into the light of day -- where public business belongs anyway -- and let the chips fall where they may.
Before I forget......Joe O'Donnell to the principal's office, please.
16. A local news broadcast (TriCities) just (noon)indicated the court hearing in Chelan has been postponed until late next week because of some action taken by a judge from this area. I wasn't paying close enougth attention to catch the details. Wish now I would have. Anyone know what is going on, if anything?
Sottd, you said,
>"LOL! Going after the truth means researching both sides of an issue before reporting"
Sorry but in "going after the truth," there is nothing wrong with discussing with others what you find along the way, and sharing information so that others can use it in their research. That's what this blog is, a discussion.
Aside from the fact that you are laughing at me, I actually agree with the other points you make in your post. Like yourself, I take everything I read here with a grain of salt and a dose of skepticism. And I think most everyone else here does the same...
Somebody please educate me here.
What can we citizens do once we get all of the facts- from solid sources- and have subtantiated proof of malfeasance?
What do we citizens do if the court reject's the WSRP suit?
What other recourse will we citizens have if the courts and our representatives fail us in resolving this issue?
This is a genuine question from me that begs a genuine answer. Liberal commies need not apply.
Carla, you're right. The changed date doesn't prove anything and it was most likely a data entry error...though I still fail to see how one accidentally types a 6 and a 10 instead of a 7!
However, can you blame us for being suspicious? C'mon, updating the page right before the times article broke, and on a sunday! Why are they working on a sunday?
That's all I'm defending, is our right to be skeptical at that time (and even still) because there is certainly good reason to be.
I heard on KTTH this morning that the delay was due to a request to remove judge small from the case. Chris Vance seemed to think that the dem lawyers are going to try and argue that this is not a case for the courts to decide, rather it should be dealt with in the legislature, who of course has already certified the results...
King 5 reported on the court delay here:
Kristen: I didn't mean to laugh at you, and I'm sorry if my message offended you personally.
My comments were more directed at the front page reporting on this blog.
I'll try to be more careful in the future.
AjalonVox, Please read below...
Commencement by registered voter – Causes for.
Any registered voter may contest the right of any person declared elected to an office to be issued a certificate of election for any of the following causes:
(1) For misconduct on the part of any member of any precinct election board involved therein;
(2) Because the person whose right is being contested was not at the time the person was declared elected eligible to that office;
(3) Because the person whose right is being contested was previous to the election convicted of a felony by a court of competent jurisdiction, the conviction not having been reversed nor the person’s civil rights restored after the conviction;
(4) Because the person whose right is being contested gave a bribe or reward to a voter or to an inspector or judge of election for the purpose of procuring the election, or offered to do so;
(5) On account of illegal votes.
(a) Illegal votes include but are not limited to the following:
(i) More than one vote cast by a single voter;
(ii) A vote cast by a person disqualified under Article VI, section 3 of the state Constitution. [That is, felons]
(b) Illegal votes do not include votes cast by improperly registered voters who were not properly challenged under RCW 29A.08.810 and 29A.08.820.
23. What about the "Law of Averages". It seems each of the 9 times new ballots were "discovered" it benefited Gregoire DISPROPORTIONATELY to her King County vote ratio. Secondly, the military ballots will be part of the GOP suit - I'm interested to hear what those lawyers and investigators bring out.
I heard a thing on the court hearing delay this morning on OPB radio. What they said was that the Judge agreed to a Democratic and Libertarian request to be a party to the hearing and delayed the hearing to give all parties a chance to get their ducks in a row.
scottd... Why wouldn't postal mailing records not be subject to FOIA? There should be nothing secret about how and when your local government spends your tax dollars.
Micajah... I believe that military voters can write in races like Governor on the federal ballot. In fact, and I could be totally off on this, I thought I read somewhere that they could merely write in the party of the candidate instead of the name (e.g. "Governor - Republican") and it would be counted appropriately.
Berean, that'd be a funny thing for Vance to say, since apparently State Sen Roach (R) introduced a bill to do exactly that--take the process away from the court and decide the election within the legislature.
Even if the Democrats proposed it or agreed to it, I think that's absurd. This seems pretty obviously under the court's jurisdiction.
"My guess is that Joe's "investigation" was completely bogus."
Actually because none of the account information is sensitive other than accounts used to pay the bill it is rather easy to find dates of mailings. If you had done the calls and leg work you would have found the same information!
I am glad they got the ballots out on time! I think it would be appropriate to find out why one set of ballots was mailed and the other set was sent to a mail contractor but other than that I am satisfied by the explainations.
For my critics, It is important to investigate stories to find the truth. It might have been premature of me to release my findings of the bulk permit results. But my findings did lead to answers. And It seems the only way of getting answers from our election departments is to look into things that seem questionable. Regardless of the outcome do not forget it is important to ask the questions!
I find myself wondering why WA primary is so late that it's difficult to get absentee ballots sent out on time. Isn't that just plain dumb?
I thought the government was to serve the people, not vice versa.
29. Joe, good post. I think you're right on with your perspective. They deserve to be challenged; we just have to be careful about reaching conclusions based on a full reading of the available facts, which may mean waiting until they are available.
We can debate what the meaning is of this forever.
Your arguments seem to be evolving. At first you argued against the facts. Now that enough facts are out to indicate many illegal votes, you no longer argue the facts. Then you argued the meaning of illegal votes, that didn’t work either.
Against these facts:
1800+ votersless ballots – illegal votes
340+ unveted provisional ballots – illegal votes
50,000+ enhanced ballots – many of which are now illegal
These also are probably traceable – which would blow you current argument out of the water.
And the underlying intent of the “Election Contest” code, that is to insure that elections are not materially affected by misconduct of election officials or by voters voting illegally. The above facts clearly demonstrate a material affect has occurred as a result of misconduct of election officials.
Your argument is now based on semantics that can be just as easily argued in a fashion that agrees with the intent of the code.
You are back to the distribution of the illegal votes. According to (.080) this is not necessary for misconduct. In (.080) the vote (all the votes) in affected precincts would be rejected.
So that leaves us with our disagreement on what (.070) means. That is one for the court to decide and I would agree that much of the Rossi complaint hinges on how the court interprets (.070).
The part about disclosing customer info to third parties is here:
It can be pretty thick reading, but that's the way it goes with bureaucratic regulations.
You might have more luck with an FOIA request to King County requesting that it disclose records concerning its activities. But the USPS isn't supposed to release that info without the customer's consent.
Ooops. The above post (starting with "believe what you like...") was posted by me, not Mark.
I meant to respond to Mark.
Sorry for the confusion.
Joe, I don't remember anyone pointing out that those absentee ballots could have been sent out of a different place. None of us thought of that. Our bad.
It's natural, I think, that we're all suspicious of what KC claims to have done.
I won't feel really sure about any of this until it goes to a court of law & gets argued over. But I am confident that Rossi's team is not going to show up unprepared.
We see an interesting contrast between the parties here:
The Democrats descended on Congress to make speeches about problems in Ohio that were not large enough to have any effect. They wanted a stage. Any politician can do that.
The Republicans are collecting information and are assembling it for a court of law. That takes confidence that you have the facts and the law on your side.
Thanks for the discussion, Barry. I don't think you have cause to say that I ever denied the presence of illegal votes, though. I have consistently argued that either an amount of illegal votes must be shown for the "winning" candidate, such that deducting them would cause them to lose, or that misconduct was undertaken such as to intentionally try to obtain a different result.
It may very well be that some or all of the 50,000 altered ballots are traceable. However, they are likely not illegal votes because of the Adams County ruling. In it, it was decided that the fraudulently altered (and they had to show fraud in that case) ballots were NOT considered illegal, because they had been validly cast and then were subsequently changed. So strictly speaking they would not be considered illegal ballots, and could not be deducted from her total. If they were shown to have been "enhanced" with the objective of elevating Gregoire (rather than amplifying the intent of the voter no matter who for), then that would also qualify. Rossi appears to have neither standard met.
As for material effect--what is it? What, specifically, was the effect? What evidence can Rossi provide that proves the result changes by taking them out?
That I am relying on semantics was said as if it were a bad thing. We're talking about the law here. Semantics is KING when discussing legal issues.
I'm happy to continue with you, but I'm also content that we've made our different positions clear. Thanks.
I too am content that we have made our differet positions clear. The three major grounds for contest will come down to how the court rules on (.070). And yes, semantics is KING when discussing legal issues. We will have to wait to see what the court rules.
I have not seen the Adams County case you cited. Where can it be found?
Thanks for the link to the regs. The reading is much simpler than you'd think. I see nothing that explicitly prevents the post office from revealing info via FOIA -- especially since the permit holder is a public agency, not a private enterprise. The privacy regs are mainly there to protect individuals and trade secrets, not to shade public agencies from the sunlight. I will grant, however, that the precise request procedures likely weren't followed. Since I didn't read every word, I will open-mindedly look at any specific sub-section reference you think exempts the info from FOIA.
Having dealt with the post office in the past, I am not surprised that Joe might have gotten a(n overly) helpful employee. The USPS seems to be divided into really helpful and reasonable people vs. career paycheck-cashers-with-permascowls.
Apology accepted. Thank you.
38. Barry-- Foulkes v Hays is here:
Sheesh, Mark, how much clearer can it be than this?
Information about a customer, employee, or other individual contained in a system of records cannot be released to another person, including a spouse, except as allowed under sections 3-5.2 and 3-5.3.
Section 3-5.3 covers external disclosures and says it can only be done with 1)customer consent, 2)as allowed by statute, 3)as part of routine use, or 4)information that is publicly available. The statutory clause refers to 12 categories of information specifically excluded from the Privacy Act. They are listed in an appendix. The routine use clause also refers to specific exclusions in a very long appendix. None of those exclusions permit disclosing mailing or billing information to third parties.
There is no regulation that distinguishes between customers who are private enterprises and those who happen to be public agencies.
I'll agree that most of the USPS people I've worked with have been reasonable and helpful -- but this doesn't include freely offering private information. They are actually pretty sticky about that.
One more thing: Processing FOIA requests is a complicated business and it doesn't get done by front counter clerks.
Thank you for the location of the Adams case. I am sure you want to use this case to argue against the election being overturned.
I only read it quickly, but it appears that it supports my argument about the courts ‘general equity power’. Thus giving the court ‘the right to order whatever remedy is necessary to correct an error’.
In this case the court overturned the election because it found enough ballots had been altered between the time of the original tally and the recount to change the outcome of the election. No assignment of who the ballots were for, just that there were enough to change the outcome.
The case was appealed to the Supreme Court and the lower courts order was affirmed.
Not what you want to have happen with Rossi’s complaint.
You're mixing sections. The FOIA section, Chapter 4, explicitly says, "The FOIA provides the public with access to records maintained by the Postal Service, unless the records are exempt from disclosure."
The request for postage statement information is NOT one of the exemptions listed in Section 4-5 -- which, by the way, DOES make a distinction between private businesses and government when it talks about "trade secrets."
What is unreasonable is that the legislature did
not move up the primary date so that election
officials had more than 6 days to mail out
military ballots. [Actually, certification
would have been after the deadline, so the
deadline could not possibly be met.]
What you call "unreasonable" criticism of the
handling of military ballots is in fact the
pointing out the consequences of the legislature
willfully disobeying a federal law.
Many Democrats have claimed that since the
federal government negoiated a revised deadline
of Oct 8th, and that revised deadline was,
apperently, met, the election, and its results,
were completely lawful.
That is based on the presumption that a federal
law may be amended by an administrative act. That
is highly doubtful. Whatever agreement the
federal government had with the state of
Washington, that agreement need not be
considered binding on any party that did not
enter into that agreement! The facts remain
that the ballots were sent after the federal
deadline. If any party had been damaged--and
many military voters were-- they have standing
for a cause of action.
I am particularly appalled by many Democrats
blaming the soldiers for failing to use a
federal write-in ballot, or failing to write-in
a gubenatorial candidate on a blank line at the
bottom of that ballot.
The write-in ballot is totally inadequate. A
partisan could write, "every Republican," or
"every Democrat," but they would have to have
proper knowledge of the ballot questions,
candidates from non-partisan elections, etc to have
an equal opportunity to vote. The notion that
a soldier casting a federal write-in ballot
has been given an equal chance to vote is a
joke. It is, therefore, also a joke to claim
that since soldiers could have cast a federal
write-in ballot they were given an equal chance
The facts remain the same:
1) A soldier's right to equal access to vote is
guarenteed by federal law;
2) That law was violated; and
3) As a result of the violation of federal law,
many soldiers who intended to vote [ie requested
a ballot] did not have their intended votes
counted in this election.
It would be interesting to compare the returned/
provisional-cast rate for ballots mailed
to Washington residents in state to the return
rate of military-ballots/federal-write_in-ballots
that were mailed internationally. And, it would
be interesting to compare the undervote for
the gubenational race on the provisional ballots
as opposed to the undervote on the federal
Another interesting question is to why 261 of 1,342
federal write-in ballots were not counted.
What we could witness is this election being
declared illegal ex post facto. First, Sam Reed,
I think, has already called for the outlawing
of political parties turning in affidavits on
the behalf of individual voters. Second, we could
see the federal government sue Washington to
move up the primary day sufficiently early so
that all military ballots are mailed at least
45 days before the election.
How much legitimacy will Gregroire's "victory"
have if the law later deems her last minute
antics in King County criminal and the lateness
of the mailing of military ballots unlawful and
Futhermore, you reference the Privacy Act in the Appendix, which says, "Under the Privacy Act, disclosures are authorized... As required by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)," which gets us back to Chapter 4 and the nine (not-applicable) exemptions to FOIA.
44. "After delivering the first batch of military ballots to the post office, King County election workers took the remaining ballots to a mailing contractor in Snohomish County later that day and on the morning of Oct. 8."
Did I miss the explanantion for this??
After delivering the first batch of military ballots to the post office...KC took the remaining ballots to a mailing contractor in Snohomish County - AND ON THE SAME DAY???
WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?
Drive all the way to Snohomish County to a mailing contractor when the Main Post Office is just down the street?? Could it be that KC has a friend in Snohomish County that would conveniently date the transaction for the 8th of October? When perhaps the date of the mailing was much later??
Since the issue of late Military ballots could bring a Federal violation.....I think King County has some 'splaining to do about this absurd ballot mailing process in Snohomish County!
1. Why were the Military Ballots delivered to BOTH the US Post Office AND some contracted Snohomish County mail center for mailing?
2. What is the name of the Snohomish County Mail Center?
3. Who owns the Snohomish County Mail Center?
4. Are the dates in the Mail logs at King County entered manually? Can they be changed?
5. Where is the audit trail?
I know we have SO MANY issues to look at with regard to discrepancies in the King County ballots...It's an auditors nightmare! But King County's claim about how and where they mailed the military ballots is so completely absurd...it deserves a Federal eyeball!
In fact - I do believe it's time for the Feds to come in and start securing everything for an investigation!
Bob, thank you. I enjoyed that.
Carla did us a favor by finding where those ballots were in fact sent from (this is assuming she's telling the truth, and we may as well, at this point), but seems to feel that she scored a major point against the revote idea.
If our troops were unable to vote because of WA state, they've been deprived of our most fundamental right, the very thing that makes the country work. This is the sort of violation that used to fire up the Democrats! Yet they're now accepting lame excuses like WA's inexplicably late primary. Would they have accepted those excuses in 1965? I don't think so.
So I'll agree with her that we should have all our facts in order, but I'm interested to see her lack of concern about how late those ballots did get sent.
The changing of the Washington State primary is a completely different issue. You won't hear me saying it shouldn't be changed.
My issue is the systematic blaming of the KCEO, when clearly they underwent a Herculean effort to get those military ballots out on time..especially given the 9/24/04 primary vote certification.
I've got more to come on my blog later on the military ballots issue...and hopefully on this issue with the FOIA and the US Postal Service.
The military ballots piece should be up by this evening..pending a phone call I'm waiting for from the Army Media Relations Office.
The USPS piece will be up pending a phone call I'm waiting for from the USPS.
You will be able to view those eventually at my blog, preemptivekarma.com.
(sorry for the shameless blog promotion...but I get the feeling the honchos at this blog aren't going to be linking my stories in their main posts..LOL)
Frankly I'm surprised at your concern at how late those ballots were sent. Given the extremely late primary vote cert (9/24/04) in Washington State, it was literally impossible for the ballots to be mailed 45 days before the election. Do the math.
The military voters were ANYTHING but disenfranchised, if what I've been hearing so far is true. I'm still waiting for a call back as a third source to verify...but it's not looking good for the argument that military voters didn't get a fair shake.
Carla, who made the decision to hold the primary so arbitrarily late?
Who exactly is the master here, the government or the voters?
Let's reframe it for ya with a hypothetical situation. Let's suppose Alabama in 1960 held its primaries very late so that the ballots couldn't reach, say, the black voters, until very late, possibly preventing them from meeting the deadline.
What would you think of that? Would you be talking math or would you be demanding that the state government treat its citizens' rights responsibly?
Barry--it sure seemed to me that the identity of the vote was in fact determined:
"Further testimony was heard from a document examiner called by respondent, who said that, in his opinion, 46 of 53 ballots he had selected as suspect (from all of the ballots from the 12 swing precincts) contained votes for the appellant made by someone other than the voter who marked the rest of the ballot."
"votes for the appellant"...
I'm sorry...but I don't know who you are. I've read your posts today..but haven't really seen you posting before... I don't see where you have revealed any information that would get King County off the hook as far as the military ballot issue.
You keep stating that it took some *Herculean effort* to get those few thousand military ballots mailed within the deadline of October 8th......Yet King County didn't seem to have a problem mailing 570,000 absentee ballots to it's voters just days later!
From the Seattle Times story:
"King County Elections Superintendent Bill Huennekens said the last of 3,055 overseas military ballots went into the postal system Oct. 8 — meeting the federal deadline.
An additional 5,478 ballots were mailed to armed-forces members within the United States on Oct. 12. More than 570,000 absentee ballots went to other voters the next day, according to the log."
I guess the problem wasn't that there were less than 45 days from the primary...King County obviously didn't stress over the mailing of 570,000 absentee ballots - (as they had them ready to mail by October 12th)....
For some reason - KC had to be threatened to get them to mail a few thousand Military ballots out on time.....And now - to hear from KC - the method they used to get those military ballots mailed..ie; Snohomish County mailing Center?..It's incredible that you can say "move along..nothing to see here folks"
NOT that I want to defend KingCo, but in the interest of fairness...
Bulk mailings are more than just stuffing envelopes. It is required that the mail be sorted, sacked/trayed and tagged (aka "work sharing"). You also need to prepare paperwork and get to the post office by the acceptance deadline for the day.
It is possible that the "mailroom" at KingCo wasn't capable of doing the above tasks (properly) by the deadline. Though I've never prepped APO/FPO mail, I imagine it has its own quirks. It is also possible that there was a permit usage issue or a permit account balance issue that couldn't be resolved immediately. AFAIK, the USPS will not allow ANYONE to mail without pre-payment (i.e. funds in the permit account). The mailshop might have been willing to let KingCo use their account just to make sure the mail gets out.
Again, I am NOT excusing KingCo, but it is vitally important that any accusations against them don't have reasonable doubt holes in 'em big enough to drive a truck through.
52. Pierce County's identical problems with meeting the deadline, despite likely far fewer to send out, would either make Pierce as "incompetent," or suggest that meeting the deadline was truly a burden. Or, I suppose, that left-leaning KC and right-leaning PC were both intended to disenfranchise the military vote. :rolleyes:
If you are truly interested in discovering
whether, or not, military voters were in fact
disenfranchised may I suggest you read
In the article, the author notes that in Yakima
and Gray's Harbor counties alone more military
ballots were requested, but not returned, than
the eventual margin of victory.
It is also enlightening to calculate the return
rate for military ballots as opposed to
local ballots. I would suspect the total return
rate for absentee ballots is something like
95%. You would expect military ballots to be
returned at a similiar percentage. [Actually,
it should be expected to be higher since the
permanent absentee ballots are often sent to
people who have moved or died etc.]
But, in the two first counties for which I have
seen data, there is a significantly lower return
rate for military ballots. There, also, seems
to be a much higher percentage of military ballots
cast by federal write-in ballots than provisional
ballots cast by individuals who requested an
absentee ballot. Togeather, this seems to
indicate that a significant number of our troops
didn't receive a ballot before election day.
Further, there are individual testimonials of
soldiers who didn't vote because their ballot
arrived before Nov 2nd. [And, this is not to
mention that 16 military ballots arrived back in
the later half of November.]
The federal law exists to ensure our troops have
the same right to vote as citizens at home. A
statistical analysis would support the thesis
that our troops did not in fact have such an
If you truly believe that our troops has a
"fair shake" then why didn't their return rate
equal the general public's? Why was their
"provisional" ballot blank, while everyone
else's provisional ballot had the names of the
candidates clearly marked? And why were their
"provisional" ballots rejected by King County
at a 25% rate rather than the 6% rate for
I think the rational person would conclude that
the federal government set a deadline of 45 days
for a rational reason, and the failure to
send those ballots by that deadline did in fact
result in significant disenfrachisement of our
54. Mark, I agree that overseas mail may have had a few extra steps. However, there should be no permit issues or account/funding issues since these military ballots were mailed free of charge.
55. Bob, perhaps a reasonable explanation for a low return rate from the military would be, y'know, the shooting and dying and stuff. Seems kinda important.
Perhaps that "shooting and dying" was part of the
reason to make sure military ballots are suppose
to be mailed at least 45 days before the
election. Breaks may be far and few, and
expecting soldiers in combat to have a fast
turnaround is not reasonable.
But, isn't your claim that they did in fact have
a reasonable chance ["fair shake" as Carla
put it] to vote?
That piece you linked to seems at odds with this one from Stars and Stripes:
I suggest you contact the counties themselves and verify the numbers, first. Then if I were you, I'd find out exactly how many complaints were filed with the various County Elections offices, if any.
Then come on over to Preemptive Karma in a bit and read about what I've found out regarding the military vote.
58. Bob, I haven't offered any claim on the reasonability of time to get their vote recorded. I was responding to your contention that the only reasonable explanation for a low return rate is that they didn't get them in time. I disagree--it's entirely reasonable to me that substantial numbers were a bit too involved in a shooting war to make sure they voted.
True re: the free postage, but the point of my post was to show to Deborah that there could be a legitimate reason for part of the mail going to a Snoho mailshop instead of being done internally. The USPS Domestic Mail Manual at least used to be two inches thick in printed form. It is possible that the day-to-day mailroom staff at KingCo, which wouldn't be sending APO/FPO ballots on a regular basis, just didn't know how to prep the mail. And would you really be surprised if they weren't up to the task of figuring it out in a day??
60. So Carla, you're not interested in my hypothetical case, are you? I suppose it really doesn't matter.
"It is possible that the day-to-day mailroom staff at KingCo, which wouldn't be sending APO/FPO ballots on a regular basis, just didn't know how to prep the mail. And would you really be surprised if they weren't up to the task of figuring it out in a day??"
But they DID figure it out in a day!
From the Seattle Times story:
"The log of outgoing mail shows that 1,853 ballots destined for armed-forces members were delivered to the International Station post office in Seattle on Oct. 7. "
And then..from the same ST story:
"After delivering the first batch of military ballots to the post office, King County election workers took the remaining ballots to a mailing contractor in Snohomish County later that day and on the morning of Oct. 8."
KC managed to get more than 1,853 Military ballots bundled and prepped for mailing on October 7th..(or so they say..) AND more on October 8th (or so they say..) YET for some reason (that no one has explained) - they also needed to drive all the way to Snohomish County TWICE (on October 7th and 8th) to mail more - AFTER they already supposedly went to the Post Office in Seattle on those days?
All we have is King County's word that they have these mailing dates in a *log* and they expect that to suffice for verification?
Did I mention that my son works for the Post Office?........
I'd love to hear your hypothetical. If you'd be so kind as to come over to Preemptive Karma to lay it on me, I'd appreciate it. That way I can address it over there as a post if the need arises.
It's preemptivekarma.com, btw.
With all due respect, as long as the ballots were mailed on time...what difference does it make how many trips it took to get there?
This seems like the pickingest of nits.
64. Carla, I laid it out above. Just scroll up.
65. I jumped on this issue with John Carlson on Monday the 10th as he had Joe O'Donnell on. I support the revote, voted originally for Gregoire (after much deliberation, I may add)and I feel this story is the poster child for caution regarding the new media of blogs and talk radio. Today John offered what he called a correction - took about 5 minutes after spending at least 1 hour whipping up the frenzy. This is pretty common practice - the mistake is above the fold on the front page, the retraction on pg. A7. However, as Carlson holds himself up as being better than the mainstream liberal media, I find his performance hypocritical at best. Ironic that he spent the next hour on the 10th discussing Rathergate and his displeasure that the report did not indict entrenched political bias as the major contributing factor to the story airing on CBS without proper vetting.
Ed, your post would be easier to understand if you said who John Carlson was, what he had said, and what he had to retract.
I don't think truth ever arrived on our doorsteps in hermetically sealed packages, having undergone a lengthy quality assurance process. That's just not how the world is.
"With all due respect, as long as the ballots were mailed on time...what difference does it make how many trips it took to get there?"
With all due respect, there is no evidence (other than a KC *log*) that the ballots were INDEED mailed on time....which makes 2 alleged *mailing* trips to Snohomish County worthy of question...
But I see that you do not wish to explore these questions....
Youv'e made your point - that you believe there is nothing to the military ballot issue..... Others do not agree with your position. Please respect that...
I hate that I find myself in the position of having to defend KingCo, but...
Just because your son works for USPS (in what capacity?), doesn't mean he knows or understands bulk mail processing. I've found that 95% of USPS employees know very little about bulk mail. That is why the various acceptance centers have a specia1ist assigned to it. But that aside...
The last three months of the year are VERY busy for mailshops and related businesses. It is possible that the Snoho mailshop is on the list of "approved vendors," knew how to prep ballot mail and happened to have a slot in their schedule at the last minute.
However, if the mailshop prepped the mail, there would be SOME sort of USPS or US Military documentation. Even if the post office handles mail for free, they ALWAYS keep track of it somehow. I would suggest that Carla and/or Joe file a FOIA for the USPS mail prep documents (since they're already deep into the process).
With all due respect to you...the ballots were mailed on time. I understand that it's difficult to accept..but the logs do prove that the ballots were indeed mailed on time. You asked for proof, you got it. Unless you have some evidence that the proof is somehow forged or incorrect...trying to debase it doesn't support your argument.
Over at Preemptive Karma, I've documented my research on how the military works with soldiers to help them vote. The effort they make is huge..and begins early in the Summer. Given the lack of complaints to anyone actually in the military or any county elections office, I find it difficult to believe that anyone who wanted to vote, couldn't vote.
Regarding your hypothetical...as I told Bob (I think it was Bob, anyway), you'll not hear from me anything against changing the Washington Primary date. I have no knowledge of why that date was chosen and what the procedures are to change it. I haven't researched it. As far as I'm concerned...that's a completely separate issue.
However, every overseas military person registered to vote in King County could request to have an absentee ballot faxed or emailed to them. These folks were well aware of this...see my post at PreemptiveKarma for details.
"Even if the post office handles mail for free, they ALWAYS keep track of it somehow. "
And this is where we were!...Checking out the audit trail at the USPS ....when suddenly the bizarre claim was made that Military ballots were shipped off to Snohomish County!
Now, it could be - that KC realized there was NOT going to be evidence found of their mailings at the *Post Office* for the days in question.....So they came up with the Snohomish County mailing Center. Or maybe not.....Who knows? But if you aren't seeing red flags here - worthy of investigation....then I don't know what would raise your interest.
So - at this point, you are simply working overtime on weak hypotheticals for the benefit of KC.....as much as you claim to disdain them...
Bostonian, Pardon me, if you live in Boston, you probably don't know who John Carlson is. Short biography:
Driving force behind several succesful Initiative campaigns including 3 strikes, you're out, an end to Racial quotas....
Republican candidate for Governor - 2000
Local talk show host for KVI
On Monday the 10th he had Joe O'Donnell on to talk about O'Donnell's investigation into the bulk mailing permit used by King Co. Elections for the mailing of overseas ballots. You can probably find the thread here in the archives. I called up John and said that he might be jumping the gun because he had no proof that the bulk mailing permit was used for the Military ballots. Basically, John replied that he assumed that King Co. would use that permit. Yesterday, the 12th, he repeated the assertion that King Co. mailed out the Military ballots late using the info regarding Permit 1455 as the evidence. I again took him to task and the truth came out today. Here is a copy of the e-mail that I sent to John:
I appreciate the fact that you and I can have discussions in a rational and thoughtful manner. It appears that this story should put the issue of Bulk Permit 1455 and the Military ballots to bed. Link to Seattle Times article: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002149473_ballots13m.html
My biggest concern all along has been the reporting by KVI of an unsubstantiated story regarding this permit. Mr. O’Donnell, in his original post on Soundpolitics.com indicated that he had some questions that needed to be answered as well regarding how the Military ballots were sent. Yet, you pressed forward with this story that has tremendous emotional response attached to it. In my mind, that was irresponsible and a violation of the public trust implicit in KVI’s use of the public airwaves. As I mentioned last night when we spoke, there are a number of very valid reasons to have a revote in this election. This one was shaky at best (improper vetting) and seemed to be aired only to throw “gasoline on the fire”.
I may be the only one to find it ironic that on Monday the 10th in the 4PM hour, you followed up the story of Permit 1455 with a story on Rathergate and your criticism of the CBS report that did not take the participants to task for political bias. I believe that your main contention was that there existed political bias on the part of the CBS wrongdoers that caused them to rush this story to air without proper vetting.
I hope for a response from you and would ask your permission to share your response on a fishing bulletin board that I am active on. A number of participants have expressed interest in this issue. The bulletin board is www.piscatorialpursuits.com
Hopefully this clears up any confusion.
73. Ed, yes, thanks. That clarifies your post. (You never know where your readers are from.)
The Stars & Stripes article you cited mentioned
about three total facts:
1) The author contacted 14 families who had a
complaints about military ballots;
2) The Rossi campaign claims to have been
contacted by 260 military and overseas would-be
voters who stated that they were denied their
right to vote; and
3) A unit commander stated that he was not
aware of any reports of problems with ballots
for his unit.
The article does not demonstrate any serious
investigation into any of the three claims.
Perhaps the 14 families were mistaken. Perhaps
the Rossi campaign was lying, or lied to.
Perhaps, one unit happened to have its mail
arrive relatively quickly compared to other
units. [The Snohomish write-in ballots indicate
an entire ship failed to have its ballots arrive
on time.] Or, perhaps, the unit commander was
not informed when ballot irregularities did
occur within his unit.
The article I cited offered real, tangible
facts. For instance, in Gray's Harbor and
Yakima counties more than 130 requested ballots
were not returned. Another fact is the return
rate was substantially below that of other
forms of absentee ballots.
Added to those fact are the substantial number
of federal write-in ballots submitted. An obvious
explanation for there being so many write-in
ballots submitted is that ballots failed to arrive
The objective observer would have to conclude
that the lateness of the mailing was in fact
casual to the relatively low ballot return rate,
your attempts to abuse the facts notwithstanding.
Hey...I wonder why John Carlson hasn't contacted me to go on his show and correct this misinformation on the bulk mailing permit? Hmm....
I have a call in to Mary Hall at the Rossi office. I'm hoping to look into the claims she makes in the Stars and Stripes piece.
I must say I find it incredibly odd that all of these people called to complain to Rossi...but few or none of them contacted the various County Elections office or the US military.
If Ms. Hall is forthcoming with the information (she hasn't called me back yet...I left my name and phone number with Dan Butler at Rossi's office yesterday) then hopefully I'll be able to find out more.
"But election officials said the permit isn't used to send ballots to armed-forces members overseas because federal law allows the mail to be sent postage-free in both directions under a federal permit."
This sounded odd to me, since I thought free mail only went from from APO/FPO addresses to the states. However, this document appears to back up the KC election officials. http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+39USC3406
77. Does anyone here know whether, or not, the
private contractor in Snohomish County did in
fact "mail" the ballots the very same day it
received them? If that contractor did not
deliver them to the post office by 5PM the
deadline was in fact not met! After all, the
negotiated agreement was that they would be
"mailed" by the 8th, not "prepared for mailing"
by the 8th.
I would hazzard to guess that you simply do not
have a clue as to how many of the 260 military,
or overseas voters, that contacted the Rossi
campaign also contacted the military.
On what factual basis do you say, "few or none?"
I think you are assuming facts not in the record.
I have no reason to doubt that the Rossi campaign
was being anything but truthful in citing the
figure of 260 contacts. And, that figure is
consistent with the large percentage of
non-returns in Yakima[30%] and Gray's Harbor[20%]
I'm basing my belief that few or none complained to the military on my conversations with the Army Media Office, the Coalition Press Info Center and the Stars and Stripes Piece. That's three sources. What three sources do you have to show that the military received complaints?
I have no reason to believe the Rossi campaign right now, based on my research. The Rossi campaign has not been forthcoming to me with their list. As I mentioned both here and at PreemptiveKarma, I put a call into them yesterday. I'll try again on Tuesday.
The military and the county elections offices I've spoken with have all been forthcoming, for the most part. The Rossi campaign has not. (shrug)
(Oddly...I had trouble posting this with my Preemptive Karma information.
Am I being banned from commenting on this blog?
The S&S article does mention contact by fourteen
families. So, there were in fact such complaints.
Beyond that, it does not give any count of the
number of complaints. Nor have you cited a number
by either the Army Media Office or the Coalition
Press Information office.
The S&S documents the complaints of 14 families.
The Human Events story cites a report that
indicates a mail truck carrying ballots was
destroyed by terrorists. The Rossi campaign
indicates 260 contacts. And, Military Opinion
piece demonstrate a very low return rate. And,
the Human Events story indicates that four
counties never sent proper ballots. Instead,
they sent write-in ballots. Further, the deadline
of mailing the ballots no later than 45 days
before the election was not met. These are all
facts that support the contention that our
soldiers were disproportionately disenfrachised
by the process.
Your opinion of credibility of evidence, or the
credibility of the Rossi campaign is irrelevant
since you are not the arbitrator of fact in this
case. You have an opinion. So what?
torridjoe said "that'd be a funny thing for Vance to say, since apparently State Sen Roach (R) introduced a bill to do exactly that--take the process away from the court and decide the election within the legislature."
Funny as it sounds, The Seattle Weekly, Jan 12-18 edition, has an article written by George Howland Jr. called "The Do-Over Campaign" that states:
"Democrats counter that the proper venue for contesting a gubernatorial election is actually not the state judiciary but the Legislature, both chambers of which are conveniently controlled by their party. "I'm not certain that anybody can challenge a governor's election in front of a judge," says Democratic Party attorney David McDonald of Preston Gates. He says the election of nine state constitutional officers, which include the governor, abides by different rules than those that apply to the election of lesser offices, like mayor or county executive. McDonald quotes article 3, section 4 of the state constitution: "Contested elections for such officers shall be decided by the Legislature in such manner as shall be determined by law." That means the courts have no jurisdiction, he argues."
I didn't watch the entire debate on the legistative floor, but I saw enough to know that the common theme for the democratic party was to shirk any responsibility or accountability for the certification of Ms. Gregoire as Governor with the notable exception of Sen. Tim Sheldon (D). The idea that politicians in a position of power would be willing to simply "rubber stamp" something that is so important to the public without even considering the consequences makes my blood boil.
I wrote two letters to my district rep, Hans Dunshee (D), and one letter each to rep. John Lovick (D) and senator Dave Schmidt (R). Senator Schmidt was the only person with the courtesy to respond to my emails.
If the stance of the democratic party is to say that it's not anyone's job to consider the problems with this election, then I say we throw everyone out and get some people in there who are willing to take responsibility.
BTW, I am not a Republican, but a concerned, conservative independent. I tow no party line and despise those who do when it goes against what is right and honorable.