April 09, 2005
The 94th Ballot
This is the letter from King County consigliere Don Porter to the election contest litigants regarding the 94th uncounted absentee ballot. Although the discovery was announced on Friday, it was made on Monday afternoon. Presumably when the comprehensive report of the 93 ballots was faxed to the litigants at 4:15pm Monday, it was already out-of-date!
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at April 09, 2005
01:07 AM | Email This
1. Elections Department spokeswoman Bobbie Egan: Some more uncounted ballots may yet be found.
Perhaps they have already been found, but that info has not been released to the public yet.
Place your bets (figuratively) now.
2. It was nice of them to wait until Thursday evening to interrupt Logan's vacation with more bad news. (Maybe he should have gone somewhere that has no telephones, so he could get a good rest before coming back to "spin city.")
3. har har. and they'll find more...just wait.
In today's P-I, Gregory Roberts has an article
that mentions the 94th ballot found by King County -- and the numbers found by Pierce and Snohomish counties:
"King County isn't the only home of uncounted ballots. Pierce County Auditor Pat McCarthy said yesterday her staff found 14 among their 255,000 absentee envelopes. Snohomish County found three among 200,000 envelopes, Auditor Bob Terwilliger said."
According to their written instructions, Kitsap County has holes through their outer ballot envelopes, so it's easy to tell whether they're empty. If you stack a batch of supposedly empty ballot envelopes together and hold them up, you can see through to the other side -- unless, of course, one or more envelopes aren't actually as empty as you thought.
Do King, Pierce and Snohomish counties not use the same simple way of determining whether their outer envelopes are really empty before putting them into storage?
Kitsap's instructions indicate that they do the same thing with the inner security envelopes. So, if Kitsap comes up with any ballots mistakenly left in either the outer or inner envelopes, it will truly be surprising.
Has anyone checked in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to see if the supposedly empty inner security envelopes are really empty?
At least in Pierce County, the answer is: No, they don't use envelopes with holes in them.
Is there a way to enact a law that requires elections officers to use common sense?
Here's what the article in the Tacoma News Tribune says:
To that end, McCarthy said, she expects to make three changes to avoid overlooking ballots as they are being processed:
• Color-coding the secrecy envelopes in which voters seal their ballots so election workers can’t miss them as they separate the secrecy envelopes from the outer envelopes, and process ballots.
• Using outer envelopes that have punch-holes in them so election workers can clearly see whether there are still any ballots inside them.
• Requiring a third inspection of the outer envelopes to ensure ballots have been properly separated and processed. McCarthy’s office uses a two-step process to go through the outer envelopes. “We would just check them one more time,” she said.
6. McCarthy said, she expects to make three changes
How about some career changes for those responsible for the mistakes?
7. Yep---'ol Dean left town only to find that things went from bad to worse
King County uses security envelopes with four small, aligned holes (roughly the size of a hole from a standard hole punch) in them, as well, for exactly the same reason as outlined by Kitsap's procedures: to ensure that ballots are not missed, as batches work their way through the process at MBOS.
At least they always have used security envelopes with holes in them...Dean Logan and Bill Huennekens have already been exposed as having made many devastating changes to long-standing King County procedures in the past year.
These two wrongheadedly burst into the elections office, assumed everything and everyone was bad, and despite that fact that they had minimal experience running elections, and all of it at small counties not nearly as large and complex as King, and just randomly began changing things, much of it over experienced staff warnings.
Examples include: They removed the first step of processing voter registrations where the staff checked to voter rolls for duplicates of the voter, using a variety of spellings and tools; they removed the restriction from the computer that prevented registering voters at a business address (installed after the King 5 investigation in 1998); they removed the step of searching for hard-copy addresses on the original registration card, where no signature as found for absentees; they removed the step of allowing the observers to double-check for missed absentee ballots in the opening process; they apparently removed the cross-checks of numbers on the mail ballot report and provisional ballot report or the numbers would not have been fictitious; the list goes on and on and on...
At what point do these two take responsibility (or are forced to take responsibility) for the mess they have made?
9. Susan B. Anthony
Logan and Huennekens might begin to feel some heat when everyone adopts the presumption that they don't know beans about election laws and sound ballot processing procedures.
Logan has been able to get by with misstating the significance of "crediting" voters with voting, the duty to certify election returns "if they can be ascertained with reasonable certainty," and who know what else.
The ballot accountability forms they used didn't comply with the requirement that has been around for years to compare the number of ballots cast at polling places with the number of signatures in the poll books immediately after the closing of the polls on election day. There was no place for the precinct officers to record the number of signatures, nor any indication on those forms that they were expected to do so.
Logan's "canvassing crew" then went around trying to reconcile discrepancies in the numbers of signatures and ballots -- but concealed the discrepancies by "adjusting" the numbers whenever they figured out that a certain number of provisional ballots had been unlawfully inserted into the Accuvote machines.
After claiming for months that it was wrong to draw conclusions from the presence of 1800+ more ballots than voters in their records, they have in the past few weeks had to admit that 916 too many ballots were cast at polling places and they don't know how many illegitimate absentee ballots made it into the vote tabulation.
At some point, everyone has to accept that Logan, at least, doesn't know his knees from his elbows when it comes to administering an election properly -- and nothing he says should be accepted as accurate or true. He doesn't always lie, but he rarely knows what he's talking about.
"King County consigliere Don Porter" - Oh, brilliant work, Stefanush Sharkansky! (O! how absolutely befitting the surname!). Congratulations on your most woefully and most lamentable "investory" work. Oh, dear, tis enough to make a person weep. Check your facts, ye man. "Sound" politics, indeed. "Fatuous" is what I would call it.
This is what I would call, graciously, quite deplorable "investigation." Have you proof that King County would hire a "consigliere"? I would ever so be shocked King County would hire a "consigliere." Just because I'm curious, exactly what do you believe is the definition of "consigliere"?
The media liberties you take are quite banal, as is your "article."
Feel free contact me at the email address I've provided. I'd love to discuss this with you further.