April 01, 2005
King County Elections Are Wide Open To Fraud
That's the principal conclusion I drew from last night's town meeting with Councilwoman Julia
Patterson, Secretary of State Sam Reed, and King County election director, Dean Logan. Not
every kind of fraud, but some kinds.
In practice, at least in King County, there is no requirement that voters be citizens. Washington
law may require that voters be citizens, but King County does nothing to enforce that, which
became clear from some of the answers Logan gave. (He chose not to answer my direct question
on the subject.) And many in the audience were struck, as I certainly was, by the fact that
after being informed of voting by two non-citizens, Logan did not refer the cases to a prosecutor.
Many Republicans have suspected that some provisions in the 1993 "Motor Voter" Act (passed by a
Democratic Congress) were intended to encourage voting by non-citizens. Logan gave me more
reason to believe that charge last night.
King County elections are also wide open to fraud with absentee ballots, especially by people who
register by mail. It is simply too easy to establish a false identity and then use it in
And it is too easy to borrow someone else's identity. The only check the elections office makes
on mailed ballots is a signature comparison. We didn't get a good description of the process from
Logan, but I do know that the clerks use computer scans of signatures for comparison. Given the
low resolution of computer screens, getting a copy of someone else's signature past the clerks should
not be very difficult. The larger the county, the easier such fraud is likely to be,
since the clerks in places like King County will know few, if any, of the people whose
signatures they are checking. Logan admitted, when I pressed him on the point, that he
simply did not know how many fraudulent signatures were accepted in last year's election.
(It was not clear to me whether he had even thought about the problem.)
Given these problems, it seems bizarre that Patterson, Reed, and Logan all want to do more elections
with mailed ballots. Do they just think that fraudulent absentee ballots are such a small
problem that we can ignore it? I really couldn't tell.
Most in the audience seemed to share my frustration at the answers given by Logan. At several
points, Stefan Sharkansky, who has done so much to uncover errors in last November's election,
had to correct Logan. After several such corrections, it was hard not to be skeptical about
everything that Logan said.
There was one interesting hint in Logan's talk. He said that, when he came to the elections
office, he found problems with the "culture" there, problems that he admitted were still there, in
part. I have speculated, without much evidence, that some of the problems in the elections
office may have been caused by a conflict between Logan and some in the office who did not accept
him. What he said is consistent with that speculation.
And, to be fair to Patterson and her guests, I should say that I agree — to some extent — with
an argument that the three made many times. On issue after issue they argued that they
were just following state and federal law. I think they exaggerated, but I also think that
our most important problem is lax election laws, not bad administration in the King County
office. Unfortunately, Reed's description of the "reform" efforts in the state legislature also
convinced me that important reforms will not even be considered by the Democrats who control the
Washington state legislature. (Need an example? Requiring photo identification for
voting. That would make many kinds of fraud more difficult.)
All in all, a discouraging meeting.
Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics, where you can also find a picture of Stefan Sharkansky correcting Dean Logan.
(That sign in the background? Pure coincidence. I didn't even notice it when I
took the picture.)
Posted by Jim Miller at April 01, 2005
05:03 PM | Email This
1. Democrats: voter felons. We must fight back. Where is the FBI? RICO laws? We are becoming two Americas, and the voter felons must be exterminated.
Why do you guys make such a big deal about such a non-issue? So far, you have found two, count them, 2, non-citizen voters. The issue hardly seems worth the press you're giving it.
Why don't you worry about something important, like the statistically impossible number of votes Dino got from the Snohomish County electronic voting machines?
3. You should look into that, doc.
"Why do you guys make such a big deal about such a non-issue? So far, you have found two, count them, 2, non-citizen voters. The issue hardly seems worth the press you're giving it."
If there was a serious effort to screen non-citizens, and two slipped in, that's one thing.
But KCDOE has as much as admitted that they do _nothing_ to prevent exactly that.
A non-citizen with no id whatsoever can fill out a voter identification form, check 'permanent absentee', and have it mailed to Mailboxes Etc. They won't be checked across the County property tax rolls, they won't be checked across the County felon rolls, they won't be crossed with the state driver licenses, they won't be checked across the freaking County preschool rolls. As Logan says, it is the job of REGISTERED VOTERS to police the voter registration rolls - he _personally_ knew of attempted registrations by people he didn't feel would be legitimate voters, but he didn't think it was _his_ job to either informally scrutinize that registration, nor his position to formally challenge the voter.
Finding two foreign votes, two felon votes, or two votes from the deceased that slipped through a competent system is a 'so what.'
Finding two confirmed foreign votes and being told "Oh, well, we don't check for that, we have absolutely no idea what the total number is" is insane.
5. South County -- I at least did some reading on the subject -- check this link: http://www.votersunite.org/info/SnohomishElectionFraudInvestigation.pdf
So how can this blog add to the discussion on the discrepancies and then add those discussion points to the the court case case? How can we be more effective than just 'bloviating'?
Our discussions seem to linger forever to no point! Where is the court case? How can we help it along?
Doc: Lehto and Hoffman wouldn't know good data if it bit them on the ass. And neither, apparently, would you.
Look at the graph on page 9. You know, the one that shows a steady trend of improvement for the GOP on election day from 1992 to 2004?
Then read what they claim it shows: A sudden improvement in 2002. But it doesn't show that. It shows exactly the opposite of what they claim it shows.
I'm not sure it's appropriate to be proud of "doing some reading" when all you've done is fall prey to a couple of flim-flam artists.
8. "I think they exaggerated, but I also think that our most important problem is lax election laws, not bad administration in the King County office. "
Why, after all that's been uncovered, do you still try to give these people an *out*? WHO do you think created the lax election laws? Which party? WHO has chosen to follow *liberal* interpretations of these lax laws?
We have seen many of the RCW and WAC's that are written on such a fine line - they could be interpreted either way! It was up to Logan, Reed, etal - to interpret them in the best interest of the people of this county and state! Instead - they chose to bail on us and open up our elections to mass fraud and mistakes!
We witnessed Logan being busted by Councilman Dunn on his lax interpretation of election laws!
If a law states "the election officials *MAY* instead of *SHALL* do something to verify voters"...Logan will always assume, because it says *MAY*, - he doesn't have to do it! He proved this with the felon voters, the dead voters, the non-citizen voters...etc...
The laws are there. Granted - they could be stronger.....but if interpreted by law-abiding officials, truly interested in a secure election process, our current laws would work!
9. Yes Doc, you SHOULD look into that, because if something untoward happened, we're not for that, either! Please do your detective work and report back to us whether you think it really happened or not. If you put the effort that Stefan has put into King, I'm sure you'll be able to make a fair determination with good hard evidence either way that would be worth sharing with us. I look forward to hearing....
Of all the irregularities in the WA state election of 2004, Lehto and Hoffman wasted their time investigating and publishing a paper on a supposed conspiracy of electronic voting machines somehow putting Rossi "over the top"
Wow...I could think of at least 1000 things worse than this in King County where the data would actually support a flawed election where a revote would be needed.
Guess Dems only look where they want to for "irregularities", eh?
Anyone doubt even for one second that if Gregoire had lost all 3 counts that this matter would still be in the Courts? I'm sure it would be...
I've never posted a comment in this bizarre underworld before. But observing the same 10 people in a county of 1.8 million people engaged daily in this perpetual orgy of absurdity requires comment.
You live in one of the most progressive counties in the Nation. The county seat is one of the most liberal cities in the Nation.
The County council will forever be controlled by Democrats thanks to the illogical strategy of some who believed that as you reduce a legislative body in a heavily liberal county you will get more conservative representation. Huh? Maybe we can reduce the county council from 9 to 3 people or maybe just 1 and that will lead to Republican control. Wait a second, that doesn't work now does it. Think about it for a second.
Suburban city councils are more and more controlled by Democrats. Witness the Kirkland city council's recent action on Tent City 4.
Democrats continue to knock off Republicans in state legislative races on the eastside of Lake Washington. Witness Jim Horn's defeat.
Light rail is being built, despite years of opposition from conservatives. Light Rail creates density and yikes, more Democrats. More light rail is to set to come - across Lake Washington and around it.
You lost. You continue to loose. You are the minority of the minority and it will always be this way in King County. Growth management and transit policies see to it that more people like me live in this region than people like you. Again, it will always be that way.
What is the end game here? Where does this daily orgy of obsession and furry take you?
Perplexed on Capital Hill with my non fat latte, in my built green townhouse, with a nice glass of pinot noir, and back issues of The Nation at my bedside.
Reregister everyone. Require picture ID, a signa ture and a thumb-print. Absentee voters would be required to both sign and thumb-print their ballots. The election workers would scan the thumb-print and have the computer verify a match with the thumb-print on file. The computer should also be able to match the signature.
In-person voting would have the same requirements.
13. "I've never posted a comment in this bizarre underworld before."
uh.....okee dokee..amused! (another freaking troll.....)
Be sure and wash your hands after you post here! And please find a more appropriate place to relieve yourself in the future...
resist the orgy. what is your end game? Where does this lead you? Think about it. I hear Arkansas is a very nice place this time of year. King County is very different than Arkansas Deborah. Very different. It will never be like Arkansas, Deborah. Nope. No matter how many times the same 15 people blog. That's what it's called right?
"amused": You can have King County. I'd be willing to wall King County off and turn it entirely over to people like you to run into the ground.
The problem comes when those of us not in King County have our lives f***ed up by your stupidity, incompetence, and dishonesty.
docbenton is practicing the normal liberal modus operandi: refusing to see the big picture, and attempting to divert attention. The point is not how many non-citizens voted - it is how many illegal ballots were cast and counted. These could be by non-US citizens, non-Washington citizens, felons, dead people, or unknown voters (voterless ballots.)
Furthermore, the problem in this instance is that Dean Logan KNEW fraud had been committed but did not report it. This is neglect on his part, and he should be held accountable.
The study you link to is pure bunk. Maybe you should read up on statistical studies and the scientific method before you attempt to pass of such a horrible study as something legitimate.
The hypotheses of the study are flawed, because the presuppositions are incorrect. Case in point: The study assumes that the voters select (or are selected to vote with) either paper ballots or machines AT RANDOM.
Here is an alternate hypothesis that is not discussed, and blows the entire study to kingdom come:
Hypothesis: Republicans are more likely to trust, and therefore choose, machines to cast ballots. Democrats distrust the computerized ballots and prefer paper ballots.
It is very possible, even likely, that the choice of voting medium is not random, which would cause skewed results. This paper would not pass muster in a college statistics course. Well, maybe here in Washington it would.
What say you?
pinot noir huh? another drunk gay 'sideways' fan that sometimes uses the moniker 'unc wiltz' or something like that.
Might be many of the same people posting, but millions of GOP read this place of logic every day.
Time to shift your preference to mad dog 20/20, I heard someone saw ted kennedy swilling a cup in a new documentary about drinking and driving.
"pinot noir huh? another drunk gay 'sideways' fan that sometimes uses the moniker 'unc wiltz' or something like that."
Real mean drink Merlot.
"pinot noir huh? another drunk gay 'sideways' fan that sometimes uses the moniker 'unc wiltz' or something like that."
Real men drink Merlot.
On second thought, maybe the GOP’s “proportional analysis” proposal isn’t such a bad idea.
The Seattle P-I reports that four Eastern Washington counties that voted overwhelmingly for Dino Rossi, tallied 1793 provisional ballots without first matching signatures to those on file.
“We did not check their signatures against our signatures in-house,” said Auditor Nancy McBroom in Adams County. “With the new law, it says, I guess, you’re supposed to confirm the signatures,” McBroom said.
Yeah, gee… I guess I s’pose so, Nancy.
If the courts were to use proportional analysis to toss out these ballots, it would expand Christine Gregoire’s lead by an additional 360 votes. However….
My first thought was: "Who the heck drinks a non-fat latte with a glass of pinot noir?" Even the French would laugh derisively at that.
Apparently amused does not understand that King County is like Danny Devito's Buggy-whip factory (I forget the movie - anyone care to help me?) Sure, King County makes the best damn buggy whips in the world, but everyone is moving to automobiles (read: conservatives are winning EVERYWHERE else). Indeed, we have a Republican Attorney General and the Gubernatorial election was half a tie (if 261 is a tie - 129 is half a tie, by Gregoire's logic).
So let amused play with his or her buggy whips, while he or she drinks the non-fat pinot latte noir. Nero fiddled while Rome burnt. Parallel time and place.
Those moron libs in King County need us to function, because money is the only thing that keeps their 'stupidity, incompetence, and dishonesty' tickin....and we all know they couldn't manage their way out of a micro bus.
You are also missing the point. Bringing up MORE reasons why this election was irrevocably flawed works in the Republicans favor.
Have you heard the phrase 'Cutting off your nose to spite your face'? Apparently Nancy McBroom has not.
While amused and doc were stroking themselves in their eco-dream, "progressive" world, I was slumming with the salt of the earth tonight in Ft. Worth at a Ricky Skaggs concert.
Let's see...the Name of the Almighty was invoked multiple times, the armed forces were honored three times, mothers were praised, and we all got to listen to the best bluegrass music on the planet.
Yeah, doc and amused can keep Seattle. Take Cascade County for the people who matter...the productive members of society.
Progressive denotes an open mind. But, I question whether those who claim to be progressive in thought are really ‘open minded’ (new thinkers) and not just clouded by their biases (believing they have been enlightened). I suggest you read “The Law
”. This book was written by Frédéric Bastiat in 1856. It has some to say about elections that are not only relevant to today, but profound.
The election process is NOT a partisan issue. If questions are raised concerning the election process in King County they should be looked at with an open mind, as should the questions raised in Snohomish County over the electronic voting machines there. These questions should have every citizen of this State, regardless of their bias, looking at our laws, and the systems used, questioning whether or not they are adequate. The catalyst or catalysts for bringing this about are also irrelevant. What happens to the favor of one candidate in an election could easily be used to the benefit another in the future. The questions raised are not whether or not a certain candidate won, but whether or not our election process can accurately tell us who won. What matters most is that all Washington state citizens look beyond the rhetoric and come together to ensure that their vote means something. I do not believe the elected can be relied upon to enact sound election laws. The problems with our elections are not new, but are exploited just the same as in 1856. Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. Pardon the cliché.
26. It may only be 10 people posting but that has nothing to do with how many read. I normally dont post because what would be the point. The Democrats are going to look to other counties for irregularities to offset their gains in King County. In the end the deception began long before the elections when our then Attorney General Gregoire had to defend against the Libertarian candidate being added to the ballot in November because they did not get enough votes in the primary to be added. Somehow even though the law is clear on this Gregoire couldnt keep this person from being added. (Is any one fooled here) Most Libertarian voters would vote Republican if they didnt have a Libertarian candidate to vote for. The Libertarian candidate received over 50,000 votes this year. The democrats know this which is why it is so important to avoid a revote at all cost. If they lose I can only assume they will attempt to get the libertarian back on the ballot to hopefully siphon off more votes from Dino. On the bright side we now have a Republican Attorney General who wont allow this kind of self serving garbage from repeating itself in the 2008 election. The Democrats may not go down this time but there will be no second term for her. They dont have the brains to manufacture 50,000 fraudulent votes without a paper trail that even a liberal judge would choke on.
ScottM and Larry -- the point of that study which you would be happy to see go away is that far more review of the Snohomish County phenomenon is required, because with available data the result is statistically impossible. The point of my comment was that I see none of you crying out to have massive resources devoted to studying what could be a fraud of thousands of votes, but you devote tremendous energy to the issue of two non-citizens voting and a seeming vendetta to have them deported.
Way to balance your priorities, since what you want are fair elections.
Oh, I forgot, a fair election is one where a Republican loser is given the office anyway.
Oh, that's rich. I've pointed out at least one way that the study is seriously flawed, and you reply "because with available data the result is statistically impossible".
Sorry, doc, that's just not the case. The conclusion that the result is statistically impossible is incorrect, as I've pointed out, because the presuppositions and hypotheses are flawed. As I said - you might want to study the scientific method, because the people who produced that study sure haven't.
You remind me of the story that ended Dan Rather's career - when it was pointed out that the evidence had been faked, he replied 'But the conclusion is still true!' Pathetic. But the use of logic has never been a liberal's strength, in my experience.
If you want to study Snohomish County, go right ahead! Nobody is stopping you. Just do me a favor: Construct a valid and logical study, okay? Don't pass off bunk like the crap study you referenced above.
I'll back up Larry on the scientific merit of the article docbenton.
On page 9 there's a graph that is supposedly "Flat until the introduction of touchscreen voting, then switches to Republican".
If you plot the same numbers (IGNORING data after 2002!) on a scatter plot and do a best fit line -> you get a downward sloped line. Hey, wait. Not only is this line sloped in the right direction, it correctly predicts the data we left off the chart (because we knew the methodology changed in 2002).
I think all the touch-screens should go away though. They're too easy to _feel_ screwed after using them. Of all the system's I've seen I like the Accuvote hardware best. The only changes to it would need to be procedural (Block the polling-place accuvotes from reading the provisional/absentee ballots by having an unlabeled overvote in a corner somewhere, make the ballots wildly different colors, allow _ZERO_ enhancement - only recreation - which must be done at the HQ)
Larry -- the mere fact that you are pointing out a possible alternaitve hypothesis strongly suggests the issue is worthy of more study. That is what scientists do when faced with competing hypotheses, Larry, they go look for evidence. You have even less basis (that is, you have no basis)than you claim Letho has for your hypothesis that Republicans perfer machines and Democrats prefer paper. You suggest, without any evidence whatsoever, that the distribution is not random. Your wishful thinking hardly blows the study out of the water, Larry.
Once again, I suggest that resources should be devoted to the potentially largest issues, rather than the non-issue of two non-citizens voting.
At least you are consistent with your peers in what you rely upon.
31. If you want to postulate theories on the significance of the data how about this one. Electonic voting does not allow for ballot enhancement by partisan election workers. Maybe the point here is that there are more Republican voters in Snohomish (and probably King County) than originally thought, after all you cant use whiteout on a computer screen. I think you are right doc; this does requires a lot more study because if we did go to an all electronic voting system you would have a very interesting result. You wouldnt be able to give the democrats credit for all the morons who dont know how to use a pencil which of course would lead to our leaders being elected by the majority which would lead to Democracy. You remember what that is dont you? It is what your political party's named is based on.
Thanks to those commenters on the left who have implicitly conceded* my central point: Elections in King County are wide open to certain kinds of fraud. I am not sure yet whether those on the left agree that we should remedy that, or not. And I hope they will address that point.
(I say implicitly conceded because none of them argued that point. One immediately changed the subject, another told us about his curious tastes in beverage combinations, et cetera, but none say that King County elections are not wide open to some kinds of fraud.
As for the controversy over the Snohomish voting machines, it has been addressed several times here. Those who think it important should review those posts before pushing the merits of a dubious study.
I will, for those not willing to do their homework, repeat a point that I made earlier: Differences between the machine results and the absentee ballot results could be evidence of failures in the machines -- or they could be evidence of fraud with absentee ballots. Since the latter is fairly common in the United States, that is the logical place to begin looking.
And, just so there is no misunderstanding, I should add that I do not like the current electronic vote machines -- though they may reduce fraud, as mechanical voting machines (which have similar problems) certainly did.)
33. Lesterman -- in a democracy, even the "morons" get to vote. But you know that.
34. Yes I do,thousands of them voted in King County and had to have their ballots enhanced (altered?) by supposed non partisan election workers.
Lesterman -- that claim has absolutely no credibility or intellectual honesty, accept in your partisan-drunk mind. Yes, poll workers made enhancements to ballots, as they are required to do by law so that the machines can read the ballot. They did so under the scrutiny of partisans from both parties. That enhancement was followed by the actual scrutiny of each ballot by partisans from both parties during the hand recount, with yet more partisans from both parties looking over their shoulders, who, when they couldn't agree on the voters intent (which is the legal standard, not whether the voter can color between the lines)submitted the ballot to the Canvassing Board for determination of voter intent. Yes, the King County Canvassing Board consists of two Democrats and one Republican, again as mandated by law, but virtually all of the decisions about the individual ballots were unanimous. (As an aside, I believe that most of the canvassing boards in this state consist of three Republicans.)
This election had problems, but the enhancement process was not one of them. Again, you waste intellectual energy on an issue that is not worthy of the use of resources. At the risk of sounding naive, it makes me believe the GOP's only real goal is propagand, not getting to the truth.
36. First, I am a registered democrat whose only partisan drunk act was to vote for Gregoire in the first place. After seeing her performance these last 3 months I wish I had voted for Rossi.
Second, your assertion that there was nothing wrong with the enhancement process which includes discerning voter intent you are obviously not as well informed as you believe you are.
Third, as far as your previous insinuation that I am a moron I couldnt argue with that because I am. I voted for Gregoire. I can only hope that Rossi will prevail in court and I will get a chance to rectify that mistake
Lesterman -- If you think I am uninformed, please let me know specifically where you think that deficit lies, if you have the facts. Be forewarned, though. I strongly suspect that I am far better informed than you are about the specifics of what happened during the recount.
I apologize if I wrongly implied thatyou are a Republican. But I'm sorry you've succumbed to the propaganda campaign.
38. The deficit lies in the fact that anything was done to make a ballot count. The word enhanced is a nice word for altered. Anytime someone other than the voter marks, whites out or otherwise adds any information to a ballot, it is altered. You can call it what you want but it still amounts to the same thing. I am a firm believer that if when you are filling out a ballot you can't follow the same instructions a grade school student must follow when taking a test then your vote was improperly cast and should not be altered by someone else. You strike me as a fairly educated person and as such you must know that when you give people who have a belief (religious, political or otherwise)the right to determine what it is we intended you create the opportunity for our very human nature to take over. Good people do wrong things for what they consider to be the right reason. It is the job of our elected officials to govern on our behalf. It is not the job of someone I never voted for to determine who I really want to do the governing.
You are takinbg a stand on something people hold very dear to them here, their right of choice. When it appears that right has been taken away people have a tendency to be a little hostile. Now you ask how you are uninformed.
How many votes where given to Gregoire illegally in the enhancements? 2 that can be easily determined. One was originally a write in for Christine Rossi. The other was a "no" vote for Gregoire yet some elections official violated the law by giving them to her. Many of the rest of the enhancements used the wrong method of marking, permanently covering the original voters marks in the process. To the mind of those here that is irregular and highly likely to be illegal for not following election laws yet no one has been fired or reprimanded for it. As for your comments about partisan oversight, the observers made notes of the voting law violations and brought it to the canvasing board's attention. Due to the 2/3 majority of the democrats on the canvasing board few challenged ballots were overturned.
Doc, this falls under the "appears" part of the RCW in setting aside elections. Just one more bullet for the republicans. Just one more instance of "doubt" that will allow judicial annulling of this election.
If you are not uninformed then you are turning a blind eye Doc.
40. Lesterman -- I appreciate your opinion and the firmness with which you hold it. But that just isn't the law. The law states that a ballot shall be enhanced to allow the machine to read it if the voter's intent can be determined. The law is the vote counts if the voter's intent can be reasonalby determined, not that it counts only if the machine can read it. The purpose of the enhancement is only to allow the machine to read it, not to change the vote. You are suggesting that the election workers should have violated state law by not enhancing the ballots. Moreover, every one of those enhanced ballots went through the hand recount review, where those enhancements in and of themselves played no role. Each ballot was looked at by the Republican and Democratic counters without regard to the enhancement and if they could not agree on the voter's intent the ballot was sent to the Canvassing Board for its determination. All in accordance with state law. We can debate what the law should be, but the law is as I have stated it and for good reason, in my opinion. A machine can only read as well as it is programmed, by humans. The point of an election is to determine the intent of the electorate, not to see who can fill out a ballot in a way that a machine can read.
41. That is my point, the law is such that human error and interests can in a close election result in an improperly elected official. Electronic voting is not subject to interpretation. It is what it is.
42. Electronic voting is only as good and as honest as the people who program it. Funny business is a whole lot harder to detect with it, though.
43. Thousands of ballots were enhanced by election workers working alone. Then it was changed to teams, then they changed it again. This was only a noted problem in King County. There was a presumption in the leadership there that Gregoire would win easily, when it became obvious that she wasn't. The procedures changed.
And they changed again, and we counted, and the procedures changed and we counted, and they finally found her enough votes. Now, they know it's not enough and they are on the hunt! They will find, create, bend any rule available to insure their girl stays in office.
44. Doc - your assertion that the ballot enhancement is legal is wrong, only to the extent in how it was performed. The enhancement is required to leave the original markings in tact. This was not done. Also no white out permitted.