February 22, 2005
Secretary of State losing confidence in King County
"What happened in King County? We don't know either in some cases".
Ouch. So says one of Secretary of State Sam Reed's top deputies, Assistant Secretary Steve Excell, speaking for the SoS office.
I contacted Secretary Reed's office last week to follow up on some statements he made in his recent online web chat. Specifically (1) to explain his claim that King County has "been able to balance the number of ballots cast in each precinct, and the total as well." and (2) to document his concluding remark that blogs and talk radio have been spreading incorrect and misleading information about the election.
I got a prompt call back from Steve Excell and we had a few follow up conversations. I'll post two entries based on our discussions, this first one to address the ballot reconciliation issues and a second entry relating to what the SoS characterizes as the misinformation that has been circulating about the election.
Excell's biggest concern was that King County has not produced all of the reconciliation data that the SoS has asked for, in particular the polling place reconciliation documents that the counties are required to create under WAC 434-253-203
Although the SoS has made a number of requests to obtain these records, they have only received "little dribs and drabs". To date they haven't seen a balance sheet that demonstrates that King County has been able to reconcile their ballots. Among Excell's other comments --
"serious mistakes were made in King County"
"As of today we don't have a complete set of numbers from them"
"we won't know all the answers until the court trial presents hard evidence"
And King County isn't the only county with a problem. I forwarded Excell the e-mail from the Snohomish County Auditor where they indicated that they could not produce any of the required documents under WAC 434-253-203 on the grounds that "Snohomish County is unable to locate the Washington Administrative Code referenced in this request." Excell responded that all of the counties were sent copies of the WAC and that "ignorance of the law is no excuse".
So what did Secretary Reed mean when he claimed that King County was able to "balance" its numbers? Only that the numbers of ballots counted for each of the various candidates in every race added up to the total number of ballots counted and was less than the total number of registered voters in the county. Fair enough, but an underwhelming accomplishment.
My public advice to Secretary Reed is to stand at the head of the parade to demand more answers from King County, and not just downplay the problems there. Asst. Secretary Excell's acknowledgement of "serious mistakes" and disclosure of King County's specific failures to provide documentation is a good step in that direction.
In a subsequent post, clarifications on some election issues that were misreported. (Of the specific examples of incorrect reports that the SoS office pointed out to me, I find no indication that any had been misreported by Sound Politics)
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at February 22, 2005
07:55 AM | Email This
Gee, I wonder if the "BIG BINDER" Goldstein refers to is the information the SOS has been requesting?
I wonder if KingCo doesn't want to release it because there are problems in the reconciliation or DATA HAS BEEN ALTERED IN THESE POLLBOOKS SINCE THEY WERE SIGNED BY POLLWORKERS????
The 3-member KingCo Canvassing Board is controlled by Comrade Logan and Comrade Phillips. Did they TAPE these canvassing board meetings like other County's did????? Those tapes or minutes would be very interesting. Did they ever even discuss the "BIG BINDER"?????
How could the canvassing board certify this election if they did not even discuss discrepancis that are required to be noted????
I really think we are getting down to the real nitty-gritty here. What did the KingCo canvassing board actually look at and discuss? How could they know the overall magnitude of discrepancies if Logan never compiled that information? Did he expect each canvassing board member to go thru each of the 2600+ precendts???
Did they do that??
You might want to call the 3rd canvassing board member who is with the prosecuting attorneys office to find out what he remembers being told.
Logan has a huge possible conflict of interest and certainly an appearance of fairness problem in certifying results HIS DEPARTMENT compiled knowing there were reconciliation issues.
DID LOGAN CLEARLY DISCLOSE ALL RECONCILIATION ISSUES TO PHILLIPS AND THE OTHER CANVASSING BOARD MEMBER?
2. It's difficult to reconcile the statements made by the SOS with these new statements made an Assistant SOS. SOS Reed should have known King Co did not balance and had not turned in complete info at the time of the chat, so why did he imply that the numbers were balanced? The SOS is not providing the kind of leadership and accountability citizens hope for in this important position.
What I'm seeing in this part of the process is that Secretary Reed has, as he should, started with the assumption that the people providing information and doing the enormous job of reconciling the election results in King County have been being honest and are competent to perfom their duties. His public statements have reflected that assumption.
The assumption is wearing rather thin.
He correctly resisted the cries of "off with his head" for Mr. Logan, preferring to wait for hard data. As the data comes in, he prefers to let it speak, rather than make sweeping statements that may yet prove to be wrong (although even your friendly token liberal is not holding his breath.)
He realized that his most effective role in this matter was to be an unbiased arbiter, rather than a partisan player. You Republicans better hold onto that fellow. If he ever decides to change parties, this Democrat will be welcoming him with open arms.
Maybe he could run for Governor.
4. A Governor should be a leader. SOS Reed has demonstrated, by his sandbagging and lack of investigation, that he's not.
5. I'm afraid Reed's idea of reconciliation is adding up a bunch of numbers each County gave him and reporting the grand total.
Mr. Reed has a habit of talking out of both sides of his mouth, as he is a weak-kneed Republican. If he were to be cornered by Democrats or go on line for the public, like he did last week, he would be apt to spin it differently and say everything is above board, the process works (so it makes him look good); just as he did last week.
When pressed to the wall, as he was by the Shark, KVI and KTTH, he breaks down and admits as he did here. He could have put a halt to the certification of the manual recount or asked the counties to reconcile the ballots vs. voters beforehand, but he perceived that it would make waves. I agree with Insufficiently Sensitive that He is no leader !
As a Democrat, you are welcome to SOS Reed. BTW, SOS, here, doesn't mean Secretary of State. He seems like a decent man who needs a spinal transfusion. Being a dispassionate arbiter and enforcing the laws and codes that he helped promulgate are not mutually exclusive.
Also, the reference to John-boy is meant with all warm intentions. And thanks for the heads up yesterday on avoiding cooking sherry. I've learned from your transgressions.
I think Sam Reed is a good leader. As someone who supports Conservative Democrats and Moderate Republicans, i would not hesitate to elect him again. He was boxed into certifying this election by State Law. Had he deviated, he would have been in violation of this, hence a whole new set of issues would have ensued.
That said, while Gregoire maybe WA State's "legal" and possibly the oh-so "temporary" governor, I do not believe (as backed up by statements made by both Dean Logan and Sam Reed) that she is our true (elected) Governor.
What would be the most equitable and fair solution if i could run this state for a day? I would first, vacate the Office of Governor (as we still, to this day have no idea who the real, elected governor of this state is). Next, I would save this state of who lotta headaches and money, by turning the office over to the next highest and legitimatly elected official, Lieutenant Governor, Brad Owen.
Brad Owen is a proven and independent-minded leader. While he wears the title of Democrat, he holds many of the same ideals of the Republican Party. He knows small business because he has owned a small business. He understands 2 points of view because he has demonstrated his willingness to work on both sides of the aisle. The democrats could hold onto the office, while the republicans would have an ally of sorts in the mansion.
I still wonder *who* arranged for the counties to stagger their vote counts so King County could not know how many ballots were needed for the Dems to win? (Remember? During the original vote counts - the machine recount and the hand recount? - KC had to literally overstuff the ballot box with 10,000 additional votes before the first certification...It still wasn't enough..)
If Reed wasn't the one who arranged the staggering..who was?
“RECALL REED” TEAM FILES MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
The “Recall Reed” team today filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the opinion handed down by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham in the recall of Secretary of State Sam Reed. All nine charges were rejected by Judge Wickham on February 14 for failing to meet either one or both of the legal and factual sufficiency requirements of the state’s recall statute.
The Motion for Reconsideration is an optional step in the recall statute. Instead of immediately appealing the decision to the Supreme Court, the petitioners have requested Judge Wickham to review his February 14 decision based on “manifest error”. We argue that he showed a complete disregard for controlling law and credible evidence in the record when he failed to find that the recall charges were legally and factually sufficient.
In addition, the “Recall Reed” team has also presented additional case law and new facts that, despite the diligence of the team, did not come to its attention until after Judge Wickham’s February 14, 2005 ruling.
A favorable ruling, based on the motion, would allow the recall petition to move forward with a signature-gathering drive to collect 600,000 valid signatures to remove Secretary of State Sam Reed from office.
The recall was filed against Secretary of State Reed by Martin Ringhofer and Linda Jordan, who have charged the Secretary of State with malfeasance and misfeasance in office, and violating his oath of office in the conduct of the 2004 election. Cited in one of the charges, for example, as Washington’s chief election officer, Secretary of State Reed’s foremost duty during the election was to certify the county auditor’s certification of vote tally from each of the 39 counties. By law, he does not have the option of accepting incomplete certifications. Yet, he did, which precipitated the “raging” controversy of the 2004 election.