February 24, 2005
Election Reform Public Meeting Tonight in Mount Vernon
Secretary of State Sam Reed will be holding a public meeting of the Election Reform Task Force this evening in Mount Vernon-- 6 - 8 pm Thursday, Feb. 24 - Skagit Valley College Cafeteria.
Be there if you can, wear orange, and call for serious election reform, along the lines of what Rep. Toby Nixon and Sen. Pam Roach are proposing. Specific suggestions --
1) Have a revote for governor, so we can have a legitimate governor with an actual mandate.
2) Clean the voter rolls. Require everybody in the state to reregister, with photo ID, proof of citizenship and proof of residence.
3) Require ID to be shown before casting a ballot
4) More provisions to accommodate military voters
5) Require that ballots and voters be reconciled before certification. In the event that there are irreconcilable discrepancies, any race where the apparent margin of victory is less than the total discrepancy should be automatically set aside.
Brendon Kepner, president of the WSU College Republicans attended Tuesday night's meeting in Spokane, and sent us this report:
Emotions ran high Tuesday evening at the fourth meeting of the Election Reform Task Force in Spokane. About 100 people were in attendance including a healthy mix of Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and self-proclaimed independents. The auditors from Spokane, Lincoln, Whitman, Douglas, Chelan, Adams, Stevens, and Pend Orielle counties were also present.
The case for/against a re-vote was one of the few topics not discussed. At the start of the meeting, former state Sen. Larry Sheahan (R-Rosalia) asked people for ideas for election reform, not their opinions on the court case in Wenatchee.
Secretary of State Sam Reed then gave a presentation on the election process, issues that arose in the 2004 general election, and an overview of some of the 98 proposals currently in the legislature to “reform” the system. Reed pushed for a statewide voter registration database and an earlier primary, defended his actions during the recounts, and pointed out that among many other concerns, “military personnel in battle zones didn’t get ballots.”
The floor was then open to public testimony, limited to two minutes per person. Of the 35 citizens who testified, the majority said that they had lost confidence in the system. One man, a Navy veteran, said he doesn’t see the point in voting when current election laws go un-enforced. An eighteen-year-old Spokane gentleman who served as a GOP observer on election day in precincts 4420 and 4429 testified that he had witnessed people without identification being allowed to vote and that provisional ballots were regularly left unattended.
Nearly a dozen people advocated abolishing absentee ballots and nearly a dozen people advocated statewide mail voting. Several orange-clad Rossi supporters suggested runoff elections for offices in which neither candidate received a majority of the vote. Five members of the Green party were in attendance and advocated Instant Runoff Voting. Many of those who testified provided their personal stories about people they knew who had cast absentee ballots in the names of deceased family members, felons they knew who had voted, and loved ones in the military who were denied the opportunity to vote.
Overall, there was a general consensus that the incompetence of King County had de-legitimized the election and disenfranchised Eastern Washington voters. Towards the end of the meeting, former WSU president Dr. Sam Smith asked how many people felt that the election system had lost its integrity. The answer was an almost unanimous “yes.” The crowd that remained also heavily favored cleaning the voter rolls, implementing stricter standards for provisional ballots, and moving the primary election to June. By nearly a 3 to 1 margin the crowd opposed statewide mail ballots and same day registration.
For me, the highlight of the event of came afterwards when I greeted (fellow Cougar) Sam Reed and gave him a bright orange “Re-Vote!” button. He looked a little flabbergasted and let out a nervous laugh. It was a priceless moment that I‘ll never forget. I feel as if I have re-gained some respect for the man, but his moment of truth will ultimately come on March 1 when the ERTF reports its recommended reforms to former Attorney General Gregoire.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at February 24, 2005
10:59 AM | Email This
1. Thanks for putting this up Sefan.
I look forward to meeting some like minded people in person rather than through the veil of the net.
2. "Stefan" And I previewed it too DOH!!
There is a part of Substitute Senate Bill 5499 which masquerades as election reform.
It would be nice if someone could raise this point: reconciling voters and ballots before certifying the election returns is needed -- doing it 30 days later is of no apparent use.
Even when the number of voters and number of ballots cannot be shown to be the same, the people who are responsible for certifying the truth and accuracy of the totals of legitimate votes cast for each candidate need to begin telling the whole truth -- tell us how far off the numbers are when you tell us your best guess about the legitimate election results.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 17 A new section is added to chapter 29A.60 RCW to read as follows:
No later than thirty days after final certification, the county auditor shall prepare and make publicly available at the auditor's office or on the auditor's web site, an election reconciliation report that discloses, at a minimum, the following information: The number of ballots counted; the number of voters credited with voting; the number of provisional ballots issued; the number of provisional ballots counted; the number of provisional ballots rejected; the number of absentee ballots issued; the number of absentee ballots counted; the number of absentee ballots rejected; the number of federal write-in ballots counted; the number of ballots sent to overseas voters and the number of such ballots that were counted; and any other information the auditor determines to be necessary to the process of reconciling the number of votes counted with the number of voters credited with voting.
Wow, this is such a great contrast to the five or ten people who regularly post on the liberal blogs and here at SP an think that their voices represent some kind of majority sentiment regarding what happened in November.
Thanks to Brendon Kepner for the report!
5. Maybe someone should ask why our current state and federal elections laws are being ignored. For instance, providing a permanent residence in Washington state.
6. If their wondering where the state government is going to get the money for the revote. Let see 1108 felons voting X 5000 fine = 5,540,000. I think we found it.
"For me, the highlight of the event of came afterwards when I greeted (fellow Cougar) Sam Reed and gave him a bright orange “Re-Vote!” button."
Hey, Brendon, was it one of these?
If the Washington GOP were truely interested in election reform they'd have gone to the legislature way before the election and asked for it. It's a pretty empty meme now. The crying over spilled milk on the felon vote is reaching the point of silliness, as I blogged today on Preemptive Karma.
A revote for governor isn't election reform, either, incidentally.
Purging the voter rolls of convicted felons is already something the legislature has in place and is working on. But it's not inexpensive to maintain the database and have the necessary bureacracy. The GOP is going to have to be willing to allow the legislature to pony up the bucks. Do I hear a tax increase?
The ID thing isn't a bad idea...but are you seriously going to disenfranchise a legitimate voter because they don't have their driver's license with them?
Military voters weren't disenfranchised in the November 2004 election...no matter how times you post it. Absentee ballots were sent out on time (I have the logs from King County, incidentally) and all had access to Federal Military ballots. Each county I spoke with said that they counted state and local races written in on those ballots if the voter was duly registered in their county. (Kitsap was actually the only one who mentioned the duly registered thing...but they have weird military voter rules).
Ballot/voter reconciliation is already done on election night and must already be completed by Washington law before election certification. A new law is merely redundant.
"But it's not inexpensive to maintain the database and have the necessary bureacracy. The GOP is going to have to be willing to allow the legislature to pony up the bucks. Do I hear a tax increase?"
No need. Just divert 10% of the funds gouged from the taxpayers to support political correctitude. That'll more than cover the costs of this worthy cause.
"Are you seriously going to disenfranchise a legitimate voter because they don't have their driver's license with them?"
Them licenseless 'legitimate voters' hadn't better drive to the polls, had they.
Are the Democrats, in their rush to register corpses and voters lacking residences and non-citizens, seriously trying to disenfranchise law-abiding citizens? Well, in a word, yes.
"Ballot/voter reconciliation is already done on election night" - not in King County, lady. We're still waiting.
"and must already be completed by Washington law before election certification." - Care to explain the rush to certification, when even now the reconciliation is a numerical joke?
Yeah Scott! It was awesome!
Carla - no one said that I.D. means driver's licence. Why wouldn't a birth certificate or social security card suffice?
Here I go again (beating my own drum)...
The BEST solution (In My World):
1. Vacate the Office of Governor (Since by the admission of Dean Logan, Sam Reed and others), this state truly does not know and continues to be puzzled by the election results.
2.Appoint Brad Owen as Governor - He is a Conservative Democrat who has worked on both sides of the aisle and has an understanding of small business (something that is vanishing in this state by the day thanks to a repressive B&O tax Rossi was wanting to repeal)
3. Save everyone alot of money and an ugly campaign (that will occur if an unelected governor continues in an office that she was questionably placed in) and we will continue on with the next highest (Lt. Gov) and (truly)elected official as Governor until the 2008 election.
12. Once again, this meeting will be about election reform. It is not the forum for bringing up the need for a re-vote, as much as you want to keep trying to make it so. It is very important that people who wish to talk about election reform at these meetings (which is what they are for) are not stopped from doing so because people used up valuable time making a political statement regarding a re-vote.
13. What if we had both a photograph and a thumb print?
Where would you like that 10% to come from? Be specific. The funds used for Homeland Security federal mandates for the state? The funds to meet NCLB? Road funds? Fire? Police? Republicans are sure happy to cut taxes...but they seem to be pretty anemic when it comes to funding their mandates and basic services.
Are you saying that those without driver's licenses shouldn't be able to vote? So wiping your backside with the Constitution comes naturally to you, apparently.
"A rush to certification"...? It's the LAW, for crying out loud. Each county must reconcile the vote in order for certification to happen. There has to be explanations and accounting for variances as well. This is some pretty serious whining you're doing here over a law that's already in place.
15. Carla - which part of the constitution do you refer to? I am not aware of anything in the constitution that says we cant require ID for things. Just like a lib to throw out a stupid statement to try to shut others up when in reality the statement has nothing to do with the issue.
16. Carla "Where would you like that 10% to come from?"
Easy, take it from DSHS, they don't know what they have or what they spend it on anyways.
"2) Clean the voter rolls. Require everybody in the state to reregister, with photo ID, proof of citizenship and proof of residence."
One thing Reed pointed out in Spokane is that federal law prohibits removing anyone from the voter rolls without cause (felony conviction, moving out of state, death, etc.).
So a general purge of the voter rolls would require a act of Congress to change current law.
"A rush to certification"...? It's the LAW, for crying out loud. Each county must reconcile the vote in order for certification to happen. There has to be explanations and accounting for variances as well. This is some pretty serious whining you're doing here over a law that's already in place."
If you were credible about enforcing election laws, that would be a point. But King County flouted the law with your tacit consent, and
you'd flout it too if enforcing it caused 'disenfranchisement' of illegal voters.
I hear there's a nice election coming up in Lebanon. A perfect opportunity for you to go stuff some ballot boxes...
Carla says: "Are you saying that those without a driver's license shouldn't be able to vote?"
I believe the idea is to provide valid identification. One can easily get a state ID card if they can't or do not wish to drive.
20. My mom couldn't drive because of her eyesight; she had a state ID card which was accepted as ID everywhere driver's licenses were accepted.