December 08, 2006
Hell hath no fury

As noted earlier, liberal group "Voters for Democracy" sought a partial recount of east King County ballots to explain why their exit poll of the Reichert-Burner race was so far off the official results. They decided on a recount of two precincts in Issaquah, for which they would pay reasonable fees, in accord with state law.

The group doesn't expect to overturn Reichert's victory. I suspect that the recount would reveal a few errors in the initial tabulation, but mostly that the exit poll methodology was flawed. But I certainly commend Voters for Democracy for scrutinizing the elections process. The more citizens of all stripes who shine a light on vote counting, the better to discover and correct systemic errors and improve accuracy.

Unfortunately, King County Elections is throwing unreasonable roadblocks in Voter for Democracy's path. And boy are they pissed.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at December 08, 2006 12:51 PM | Email This
1. They should be doing this for free. It is nothing more than a verification of the vote tabulating machines used. Here in Thurston County, they perform checks before counting any votes and they specifically recounted a portion to verify the vote totals for a group who requested it.

Why does it take a week to count less than a thousand votes?????

Posted by: sgnnac on December 8, 2006 02:04 PM
2. I don't know anybody who wouldn't lie to an exit poller. I know I sure would. I'd tell them anything other than who I voted for.

Voters for Democracy can waste their energy if they want as it's theirs but why are they going through all of this monkey motion based on a few exit polls?

Not wanting to overturn Richart is a red herring. I think they fully expect to be able to put into question Richart's win. Bad PR at this point is as good as a win down the road. These leftists work long term and they can use the bad PR for years after. Look how the Floriduh 2000 result has been used world-wide by the leftists (elected Democrats, Chavez, Castro, etc.) to paint Bush as "illegitimate".

The Democrats knew that they were going to stir-up Floriduh weeks before they started the phone campaign to put into question the balloting in the minds of the seniors. They had a "crash team" or lawyers assembled in D.C. and all ready to go. These people are diabolical and play hardball.

Posted by: G Jiggy on December 8, 2006 03:03 PM
3. Oops. That would be: "They had a "crash team" of lawyers assembled in D.C. and all ready to go."

Posted by: G Jiggy on December 8, 2006 03:07 PM
4. I am sorely tempted to mention something about shoes on other feet, but....oh, I guess I just did. How is Goldy spinning this? I suppose in his view it's justified as long as it's not coming from convservatives.

Posted by: katomar on December 8, 2006 03:30 PM
5. It looks as though King County elections officials "stonewall" just about everyone. Who woulda thunk it?

Posted by: Micajah on December 8, 2006 04:02 PM
6. This is a load of crap. Here in Clark County, our elections department worked with both parties to do a hand recount of two precincts, I believe just to test the system. The way it was explained to me, the parties have the right to request this and there was no fee or charge. I serve on the citizens' election advisory board that our Auditor Greg Kimsey has established to maintain communications with the parties and the general public, and they ALWAYS go out of their way to accomodate requests like this.

If King County is truly trying to make you foot the security bill for a hand recount, that is simply unconscionable.

Posted by: Randy Mueller on December 8, 2006 04:03 PM
7. Why does it seem that the only people requesting recounts are Democrats?

Posted by: SillyGuy on December 8, 2006 04:12 PM
8. I don't know where Washington law is on this, but a good election code would have some amount of madatory recounting of randomly selected precincts. If the tinfoil hat brigade wants more recounting on top of an already adequate automatic recount scheme, then they should pay for it.

Posted by: krm on December 8, 2006 07:48 PM
9. Silly Guy #7:
Protesting elections is just what leftists do. They think that their message is so seductive that they can't imagine anybody not voting for them. Why wouldn't somebody vote to take another's money for their own benefit? Why wouldn't anybody vote for big government handouts? It's not about elections and Democracy it's about winning and getting into office to control your life. It is religion to them. Actually this has been going on in the third world for decades. It is just now starting to gain traction here in the states. It started in earnest in 2000.

Posted by: G Jiggy on December 8, 2006 10:23 PM
10. Did anyone else notice that when McFarland wrote "Whether or not we succeed..." she spelled it '"weather" or not'?

Posted by: Michele on December 8, 2006 11:28 PM
11. Michele, I noticed too. She also misused the word placebo. More clarity in her writing would help get her message across.

Posted by: Obi-Wan on December 8, 2006 11:47 PM
12. Obi, yes--that placebo reference was just weird.

Posted by: Michele on December 9, 2006 01:08 AM
13. Uhhh.. . Jiggy, If you have been around for the past couple of years it has been righties most bitching about elections. And yah elections are about winning, you don't to make policy, liberal or conservative, until you are in office.

As for the Democracy for America recount. One thing you do when assessing were you went wrong is by conclusively eliminating possible causes of error. One such cause would be election error. The recount will help confirm or deny this.

Posted by: Giffy on December 9, 2006 04:51 AM
14. 13 - Just thinking about major previous elections and the protocols used... If the republican won, the democrats would be all over swearing vote fraud, disenfranchisement, long voter lines, vote machine manipulation...etc. I have not heard anything similar in this last election from the republican side. Or possibly I just missed the headlines.

Posted by: sillyguy on December 9, 2006 07:44 AM
15. Why do exit polls have the credence they do? They don't mean a damn thing. Create a false-hope-in-reality exit poll and then use it to charge fraud. let's just say i trust actual vote tabulation more than exit polling, which says a lot considering the real elections fraud that goes on.

Posted by: TLo on December 9, 2006 08:10 AM
16. Yep, TLo, I can lie through my teeth to an exit poller, and then Hannah McFarland and Giffy will run around screaming that their exit polling and the results did not match and blame it on KCE. It is one of the much sillier reasons to get upset after an election. Much better to scream that KCE KNOWINGLY counted illegal ballots like Fatal Pends ("we shouldn't have counted those". oh, thanks, KCE!)

Posted by: Michele on December 9, 2006 11:02 AM
17. Sillyguy, Just do a search on this site for Dean Logan.

As for the last election there were some major problems with electronic voting machines that will hopefully be dealt with. Not so much active fraud, but error, malfunctions, and the like.

Michele, I never said that KCE was to blame. I simply said it was a possibility. I don't really know anything about voters for democracy, and don't really care too. I do however admire there determination to figure out what caused their error. In science when you cannot do a controlled experiment, as is often the case in social science, you study the real world and attempt to eliminate potential causes for what ever phenomenon you are studying.

Personally I am inclined to think the error is do to either respondent error or sampling error, but eliminating KCE error as a possibility is an important step.

Posted by: Giffy on December 9, 2006 11:18 AM
18. And by the way exit polls serve a valuable function in PoliSci. They let us know the demographics and rationale behind voter choice. This is vital for understanding why people vote the way that they do. While yah, they often get used, and misused, for partisan purposes, their true value lies in the information they give us about the make up and motivations of the American electorate. While you may think your hurting your political opponents when you refuse to participate or lie, you are really hurting the poor grad students who poor over the results for dissertation topics. :)

Posted by: Giffy on December 9, 2006 11:23 AM
19. Giffy: If I were a grad student preparing a disertation, I certainly would select more reliable statistics than those provided through exit polls taken by party faithfuls and journalists. I would rather trust the statistical data gathering of the professionals like Rasmussen, etc. If anyone asked me, during an election, outside a polling place, who I voted for, I'd probably punch 'em. (or at least be tempted to)

Posted by: katomar on December 9, 2006 11:32 AM
20. Here is a good summery of exit polls

In addition to NEP many colleges and orgs conduct there own exit polls, but these are rarely tabulated until well after the election. Like NEP they are almost always written and always anonymous (really no reason not to be). The biggest problem is the enormous cost involved. In KC alone there are 2600 or so precincts. just to pay one person to stand out side of each poll for the 12 hours or so polls are open would cost 100-150 dollars. Thats 260000-390000 alone, not to mention design, tabulation, analysis ect. This is why everyone uses sampling, but that is problematic for reason we are all familiar with.

Ideally you use everything you have from regular polls, census data, exit polls, interviews, etc, and build a self verifying data set that can allow to make extrapolations about not only who votes for whom and why, but also who will vote for whom and why.

Posted by: Giffy on December 9, 2006 11:55 AM
21. Giffy, I think the point trying to be made is many (not all) will lie to exit pollers for various reasons. It could be they do not want to be given a hard time over who they voted for or they just believe in the "secret ballot". Remeber, the media is full of stories fo alleged intimidation at the polls by both parties. That alone would could make someone skeptical about answering an exit pollster.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on December 9, 2006 12:21 PM
22. Giffy, if your car stops running while you're driving--and the gas gauge reads totally "empty"--don't waste your time checking the transmission, coolant levels, or even sillier--the turn signals first. Put gas in the car first! Deal with the least probable stuff last. It only makes sense.

With KCE, worry first about overstuffed mailbags with broken zippers that could be tampered with, double voters, trying to get KCE to stop counting illegal Fatal pends, getting KCE to quit allowing illegal registrations at private mailbox stores FIRST. When you know that people LIE to exit pollers, the last thing you should focus on is why an exit poll was off by 4%. especially when the only really sure thing you could do is round up everyone who voted at the polls and hook them up to a lie detector and ask who they voted for. Even then, you can't totally rely on it.
Screaming about exit polling not exactly matching the outcome is, frankly, laughable. Especially when we all know that the democrats running KCE are NOT interested in helping Dave Reichert. It's possible they were interested in helping Darcy, but we don't know for sure if they did. I am not aware of evidence that they did.

McFarland is very likely a democrat. One of the other principals in her group IS a democrat. They have their own agenda. And it isn't to help Reichert.

But so what---the point is, you will never be able to fully reconcile exit polling with the real thing as long as people can AND WILL lie to the exit-pollers. Democrats like to declare that Rs are "not for science", but how unscientific is it to try to claim that because exit polling didn't match up by a few points, the whole election was faulty? It just looks desperate. Worry instead about KCE registering non-citizens (which they surely have--at least two people came forward after '04 and admitted they voted as non-citizens and had their names taken off the roles. and that's just the 2 we know of), or allowing voters to vote by mail AND by provisional and counting both (which KCE HAS done).

Posted by: Michele on December 9, 2006 01:35 PM
23. Giffy - Thank goodness Dean Logan is no longer in our picture and Yes there were very many questions about the the true outcome of the vote... I have suggested at one time or other the State should determine what the error level is on a particular election with vote counting and if the count is within that error level then there should be an automatic re-election process instead of interminable recounts that lead folks to suspect the process.

It would cost more but then we would find out the true winner that the people want to represent them. The election for Governor with a 129 vote difference was an example of this problem. The vote was so close that no one could prove or disprove 'miscounts' or other problems but everyone thought that could have been a problem with how the votes were tallied.

To alleviate that, a re-vote should be done until the vote count is outside of the margin of error. Some 'Harey' folks on HA don't believe in that particularly since the final count went there way.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: sillyguy on December 9, 2006 01:39 PM
24. The post at 23, by Sillyguy is correct. When the margin of error is greater than the margin of victory, no victor is clear. In the Rossi/Gregiore race the problem was clear. However, the election law was not, and is not on the books to allow a "re-vote". So instead of that silly chant, the real reformers would be pushing for just such a law in this coming legislative session.

I'm no Republican, or Democrat, and get really tired of the partisan blinders from both HA and SP. The only way forward is to go with reason and logic. Exit polls are an important check against the system. The argument that people lie to pollsters is irrelevant. It's only a check, lying is a statistically anomaly that is dealt with. The real audit is about random hand checks, not the polls. The fact that King County and WA don't have a random audit on the books is shameful, just like the lack of procedures for a "revote".

But in order to get either goal accomplished, you have to work towards that end. Dino Rossi should be leading the charge for a state law on "revoting", as should the republican party. But you can't blame voting activists for wanting to audit the system at a reasonable price.

Posted by: Gentry on December 9, 2006 07:41 PM
25. Too funny...Republicans who question KC Elections are partisan whackos, Democrats who question KC Elections are righteously angry.

Why are Dems again attempting to match election results to exit polls? Although exit polls are proven to be inaccurate, Dems nationwide seem determined to find them more accurate than vote results.

On the other hand, any investigation into election accuracy and open & transparent elections is welcome. It's all good.

Posted by: dl on December 10, 2006 01:58 PM
26. Where were these hypocrites in 2004, where there was clearly more illegal votes then the 129 vote margin of victory?

Now that they have a mushy feeling that there might have been some discrepency with a vote count that is much wider, in an area only 1/9th the size, they decide there's a problem?


Anyhow, I wish them luck at rooting out any problems, but their glowing hypocracy is comical.

Posted by: Cliff on December 10, 2006 03:02 PM
27. Heh, yes cliff---these are the same people who thought the 129-vote margin was clear and just, yet screamed that President Bush's 100,000 vote margin of victory was somehow majorly flawed and "stolen".

Cry us a river, y'all.

Posted by: Michele on December 10, 2006 06:09 PM
28. I usually vote a mix of candidates, but tell exit pollers that I voted Democratic as that is generally what they want to hear.

This modern election fraud witch hunting being carried out by the left has me worried. Activist poll watchers aren't interested in assuring the quality of the vote. They were simply working to make a case of election fraud in the case that they lost the vote.

If the Whitehouse strategy had worked, and they got out a big last minute republican vote, then the courts would be clogged with accusations of fraud. I am not commending the left's election fraud mania of 2006 because it was not an effort to defend democracy. It appeared to me as an effort to undermine democracy.

Unfortunately, because the new left has adopted the tactic of calling all elections that they lose fraudulent, we need to move away from systems that involve trust to systems where people vote in triplicate and get bioscanned before entering polling places.

While authentic to assure the integrity of the vote are commendable. One-sided efforts set on creating an illusion of fraud are not. Such actions will undermine and not enhance our democracy.

Posted by: Kevin Delaney on December 10, 2006 07:21 PM
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