November 16, 2005
Fickle Finger of Fate
The following photographs illustrate the rules the King County Canvassing Board uses to determine "voter intent" on the ballots that it examines.
|Last Thursday's rule: when a voter fills in both ovals, X's them both out and creates a new filled oval next to the NO, it is a NO vote|| |
|Yesterday's rule: when a voter fills in both ovals, X's them both out and creates a new filled oval next to the NO, it is an overvote.|| |
| New rule tomorrow |
The fickle finger of fate
in the bottom photo belongs to King County Councilman Dow Constantine. (Happy Birthday, Dow
More illustrations of "voter intent", here
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at November 16, 2005
11:42 AM | Email This
1. Rule is basically; if we like the candidate, that's what the person really voted...
A good example of why interpreting votes is stupid. Is it even legal? I hear conflicting info on it.
If the voter muffs it...don't count it. From my experience at polling places, workers are more than willing to exchange a muffed ballot for a new one, there is no need for this manipulation of votes by the canvasing board.
3. These guys make the "Hanging Chad" people look good.
No clearer examples could be given for rejection of any and all "votes" that a machine cannot read. If you are such a moron that you can't follow instructions that have not changed in decades, then you deserve to not have your "vote" counted!
Keep it objective, not subjective: if the machine can't read it, IT IS NOT A VOTE!!!
any confusion on 912 was a "no" vote.
any confusion on a Sims/Irons vote is obviously intended for Sims.
just like in the governor's race a vote for Rossi was either intended to be a gregoire vote or intended to be not counted or lost.
6. Is that a boogar under Dow's fingernail?
There you go...
When you have people who are willing to work outside the defined rules AND LAWS, inventing rules on the fly, what do you get but inconsistent processes, the insertion of personal preference, and with it, bias and corruption of the result.
Way to go Dean Logan!!!
8. Some political philosophies subscribe to the notion that elections are not won or lost in the voting booth, but in the counting. There was a time when that brand of political philosophy kept SAC crews in the sky 24 hours a day.
9. Stefan - am I perceiving a pattern in how these interpretations of voter intent are being made ? They seem to be tilting significantly consistently depending upon which initiative or race is involved ...
Or am I just being cynical ?
I-912 was defeated by big government, big unions, big business, and, most importantly, big law firms.
In last week's Tacoma News Tribune, there was a graphic representation of the state showing those counties that went voted for and against 912. As may have guessed, nearly all the counties that voted for 912 were not in the grouping of where we would expect to find big givernment, big unions, big business and big law firms.
I-912 was defeated by greedy special interest groups, and our state government was the biggest special interest group involved. Throw in big law firms, and 912 didn't have a snowball's chance in hell.
What is amazing to me is that the democrats demand that all religion be removed from public places, yet they are sure willing to play "God" with their pens in hand on our sacred ballots.
12. Looks to me more like the Fickle Finger of Fraud, but not that fickle around here. All the fraud is on one side and quite consistent.
13. Hate to say it but Libertarian has a point. However don't forget that there are several state senate seats up next year!! (A good time to let the wrath of us voters be known & vote some of these clowns out & replace them with conservative Dems like Sen. Sheldon in Mason County or More R,s like my 2 Pam & Dan Roach who really do their job!!(and need more help against rabid Dems!!)
14. JDH -
Fraud is generally considered to be an action that is either intended to deceive or otherwise gain advantage using some sort of deliberate means. I don't see anything here that conclusively evidences either of the above.
15. I'll further say that the author makes the assertion that "the canvassing board simply made a bunch of haphazard and inconsistent guesses...in the absence of and/or inconsistent with the voter's pattern of marks." I don't see how this can be established from photographs of different ballots, i.e. from which the voter's pattern of marks may be discerned.
16. Remember, Stalin said the following, "Those who cast their vote, decide nothing.Those who count the vote decide everything," Based on the vote count at King County, they have arrived at the templet for King County, Stalinisation of King County.
"Based on the vote count at King County, they have arrived at the templet for King County, Stalinisation of King County."
That's a bit of a cynical evaluation, don't you think? There is virtually no basis for comparing a relatively free and open democracy (as most here would probably argue the US is) with a closed dictatorship like the Soviet Union under Stalin. Even considering voting irregularities that occur in the best of circumstances (voter error, inaccuracies in counting/machine error, etc.), trying to equate American elections with the shan elections held under many a Soviet administration is, in my view, a red herring at best.
18. Sorry, that should say "...comparing elections in a relatively free... with those in a closed dictatorship..." above.
19. That blog entry title is killing me Shark. Funny stuff.
20. Dr E
I encourage you to listen to the hours of canvassing board tapes from the 2004 recount to understand the frame work for the obvious conclusion those "Photographs" illustrate.
"I encourage you to listen to the hours of canvassing board tapes from the 2004 recount to understand the frame work for the obvious conclusion those "Photographs" illustrate."
Actually, it would be far more logical to listen to canvassing board tapes from this session, don't you think?
22. An overbundance of talent rules the world.
24. Dr. E makes some good points above about the "red herring." This isn't evidence of fraud, per se, but it is evidence of non-existent standards. We might as well just flip a coin rather than let these folks apply their logic/mind-reading/whatever to determine the "intent" of the voter. Hard to say if those errors all end up on the side of the Democrats, though. If they did, then that would be clear evidence of a couple things:
1) deliberate manipulation of voting;
2) many Democratic voters can't figure out how to work a ballot.
Of course, were I a vote counter, I'd plead the 2nd example as being the case.
25. You know it really perturbs me that after sitting for several days watching this happen last year that the same thing is happening again this year.
One would think the Canvassing board would have the courage to adopt a solid set of rules which outline the thirty or so variations of an over vote, under vote or no vote and stick to them.
I don't care if the Magna Carta is written or a plaster cast of Sasquatch's foot is attached to the ballot so long as they are counted the same way the next time a similar occurance happens.
This rock, paper, scissors approach by Mr. Logan and company has really got to end.
26. That's a bit of a cynical evaluation, don't you think?
Yes, but well earned.
AGAIN, SEATTLE TIMES WHERE ARE YOU?
THIS STUFF IS A NO BRAINER FOR BUILDING READERSHIP!!!!!!
29. Dr. E
O.K. I'm O.K. wityh election tampering. But when the winds blow from one dirrection, there is a reason for that. Of course it could be 'random,' but in this State, all evidence points to a certain Party putting in place a system by which those with a proclivity to cast extra-legal ballots and then encourages those with such..... and then puts people in place and then champions lax standards.... and circumvents controls.... there is at the very minimum an appearence of an effort ot foster a climate that allows election rigging which is fraud. Enough said!!!
Looking at the WAC (WAC 434-261-075), there is one section (section 2) that deals with making corrections on a ballot, and another (section 5) that deals with "markings or punches that differ from those specified in the voting instructions".
Section 5 would seem to cover those cases where the voter, instead of filling in ovals, chose to circle their selection or underline the name, etc. but did so consistently for each ballot item. Section 2 seems to specifically cover just those cases where a voter decided to make a correction, and seems to be very specific about how corrections are to be made; either follow the instructions for correcting a vote, or provide written instructions on how the ballot should be interpreted.
By my reading of the WAC, the examples that Stefan has provided do not appear to meet the requirements of section 2 of the WAC, unless the voter provided written instructions for interpreting their markings. In addition, the language of section 5 should not apply unless the entire ballot was marked the same way, with all ovals filled in and then X'd out, plus an extra mark by one of the possible selections. Therefore neither of these vote should have been counted (divined?) unless one of the caveats above applied.
31. Ya know, what the bottom line here is? Let me tell ya... the people smell a rat. The 'machine' is bouyed by I-912, but the 'big picture' remains to be seen. Actually I am somewhat optimistic. But then, I wasn't one to ever wallow in pesimism.
32. argh. intimately involved in '04's recount saga, my research of WA State Election code makes this, in any other county besides King, a no brainer. whether this is a mail in ballot or a ballot voted at the polls there is no question that it is an overvote. no question. no intent to decipher. it breaks my heart to see absolutely nothing meaningfully resolved and improved from the 2004 debauchle. now we have Governor Skeletoire for 4 and Dean Logan hasn't gotten the axe. you all know this, but I have to vent.
33. Yup its all the canvassing board's fault. I-912 is heading for a 10 point loss. Irons is under 40% now. Why don't you accept that Washington and especially the economic/population base of King and Pierce Counties doesn't want mom-beaters and crappy roads. Oh and who gives a frack about the fact that a majority of counties supported 912. WE DONT VOTE ON GEOGRAPHY, ONLY POPULATION. The fun thing about being the largest county is that you do get to dictate to the rest of the state. Don't like it , move to Idaho or Montana or please please please create your own poor ass state. Spokance would make a great capital. We are tired of subsidizing your roads, schools, etc.
Notice, that in both of the examples that are posted of the same exact type of ballot marking and determining of intent. It resulted in a NO vote against 912 and a VOIDED no vote against the other issues.
It's clear what the "INTENT" was- for Govt to make sure that 912 was defeated!!!! Regardless of voter intent!
What are the standards for determining a vote?
If their are standards for determining a vote and the canvassing board ammends those standards during a count then yes there could be a charge of Fraud. The reason why it CAN be considered fraud is that, it would call into question cherry picking votes.
"Boy it sure seems like they meant to vote against I-912, well let me help them out here!"
It seems to me that a voter that does not follow the strict rules of voting, does not care whether their vote is counted therefore we should not go into the game of mind reading.
If you have a mail-in ballot, you have plenty of time (unless you are overseas military) to figure out what hole needs to be punched or what circle needs to be filled in. If you make a mistake on the ballot then it is upon the voter to contact the county elections department and find out how to get a new ballot.
If you are at the polls and make a mistake, it is upon the voter to request a new ballot from the polling officials. This
Again, it is upon the voter to make their intentions clear by following the rules. We should never consider intentions only strict votes that meet the legal critera of a vote.
36. The training I received in order to be our party's observer was confusing. I did observe the person giving the training is clearly understandable when advising the convass board on the applicable laws. When Lois McMahan, who took the training at the same time, would try to ask questions which clearly showed her expertise in this area, she was treated less than respectful by our county auditor.
I noticed by state law each county canvassing board has a manual. Does a party observer have a right to a copy of that manual in order to familiarize oneself with the proper procedures?
Is there anyone giving we observers training in detecting election fraud techniques by county staff? Because that is what my gut instinct tells me would be the most helpful.
I just happened onto the Observer's Guide on the state's election division website tonight. The trainer, nor the auditor mentioned this resource to us. Hopefully the guide will not be as confusing as was my training, but it probably would be wise if I don't hold my breath.