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Two Elections That May Never End

The race for Governor in the state of Washington, and the race for mayor in the eighth largest city in America, San Diego.

In Washington, Democrat Christine Gregoire was certified as the winner of the election by 129 votes over Republican Dino Rossi. Gregorire's a margin was provide provided by the "true blue" county that is home to Seattle and 700 "undiscovered" ballots in being counted in the a state-wide hand recount, but not the previous machine recount. Sound Politics' Stefan Sharkansky has analyzed the King County voting records and has found major problems that call the hand recount into serious question. From Total Meltdown in King County Voter List:

It was last reported that there were 3,539 more ballots counted in King County than voters who cast them. The discrepancy is actually much larger.

The 3,539 is only the net. This comes from having roughly 1,500 more voters than counted ballots in some precincts, and about 5,000 more ballots than known voters in other precincts.

...Conclusion: in certain precincts there are about 1,500 more known voters who cast ballots that were accepted than there are ballots that were counted in the manual recount.

What King County's number show it that they lost 1,500 valid votes and added about 5,000 more votes than the records indicated voted. It's probably a safe prediction that there will be a lawsuit challenging the results at some point.

In San Diego, incumbent Mayor Dick Murphy was declared the winner when 5,547 ballots cast for write-in candidate Donna Frye were declared invalid by the courts. The ballots had Frye's name written in, but did not have the associated bubble (indicating a write-in vote) filled in. Had those ballots been counted, Frye would have defeated Murphy by 3,439 votes.

Two lawsuits have been filled attempting to overturn the election, and the newly elected City Attorney is set to issue a non-binding advisory opinion on whether those votes should be counted. Whether you believe they should or should not be counted, I'd venture to guess that anyone who remembers the whole "intent of the voter" standard practiced in the Florida 2000 recounts would know how the Palm Beach Board of Elections would deal with those ballots. The intent is crystal clear, it's the mechanics of the process that are at issue.


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Comments (11)

I'm sick of this shit.... (Below threshold)

I'm sick of this shit.

Instead of 3-4 recounts, just redo the whole election over.
That whore, Gregoire said "dovers only occur in golf", despite the fact that they already didover the count 3 times.

I think they found some vot... (Below threshold)
OneDrummer:

I think they found some votes in Sandy Berger's pants, do they count?

if i was murphy i sure as h... (Below threshold)
IAN:

if i was murphy i sure as hell wouldnt want to win on some technicality...but thats just me.

Well, how about this scenar... (Below threshold)
ExRat:

Well, how about this scenario: very helpful poll worker writes in Frye's name ahead of time in a number of blank ballots anticipating a need to assist those voters who come in and express a desire to vote for Frye. At the end of the day, for some strange reason the ballots with Frye's name written in but without the "bubble" being filled in (the bubble indicating an actual vote by an actual voter) get dumped into the ballot box. They don't get counted in the original machine count, or in the machine recount, because the law says the bubble must be filled in in addition to the name being written in. If the election's close they might get counted. Arguably no fraud on the part of the helpful poll worker, because he/she knew the machine wouldn't count the vote unless the bubble was filled in. But under this scenario they are definitely not valid ballots and should not be counted.

There's absolutely no way to determine whether the above scenario actually happened. There's also no way to determine whether 3,440 people actually voted for Frye, or started to and then changed their minds and didn't fill in the bubble by her written-in name, but really didn't want to vote for either of the other candidates.

I can think of several reasons why the law requires both the name of the write-in candidate and the bubble being filled in. The one that first comes to mind is to enable the tabulating machine can identify the ballots with write-ins and "kick them out" for evaluation by humans. The one that second comes to mind is the situation alluded to above -- the voter starts to vote for a write-in and changes his/her mind at the last minute.

Because the voter's intent cannot be unequivocally determined by examining the ballot, those ballots should not be counted. And I'd have the same opinion if the parties of the certified winner and challenger were reversed. Let's face it -- even the most intrusive nanny state cannot protect every one of its citizens from his own actions 100% of the time.

wow. that happened? can p... (Below threshold)
IAN:

wow. that happened? can poll workers do that?

ok though. i was just thinking that if thy wrote the names that was good enough, but no you're saying its not.

Happy New Year, everyone.</... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Happy New Year, everyone.

About Gregoire, the woman was relentless on identifying all sorts of workarounds and discrediting excuses for the ballot results up to and until she got other Democrats in King County to sit there and 'recount' ballots -- including many that were discounted for viable and quite legal reasons by the state's balloting process and some that seem to have magically appeared/reappeared in King County, just because (many stories here about newly appearing ballots in King County, so I paraphrase).

Suddently, Gregoire goes all subholy about validities and indignations and authorities and laws and such -- after ridiculing and defying those laws all along the way up to that King County magically changing numbers situation -- and clamps down from yet another one of those laboriously decrepit liberal 'moral authority' highchair perspectives and she's governor and that's that.

The state NEEDS to fund and conduct a new election. I support Rossi and others in Washington for focusing on that solution to this voting fiasco, because, without a new election -- one conducted with higher standards and exacting requirements, meaning, no workarounds after the ballots are counted and by the letter of the law -- the entire state now looks like it's been hijacked by a randy Gregoire-led bunch of Democrats. If she was elected by ordinary means, then fine, I wouldn't find issue in that, but she wasn't. She wasn't elected by an ordinary polling process, but only by manipulating the results.

So, show the woman the door and hold a fresh election in Washington and prove a point, establish firm rules for future voting and stick with those rules. Otherwise, as in other elections of similar questionable results, you get a no-end to voting manipulations and ongoing throwovers of the results.

Another election that went awry and was a very bad experience was that in Irvine, CA where recumbent Democrats hacked into the local school board website and pretty much peppered everyone with insistent paperwork, including issuing a county ballot and then issuing an additional county ballot for the Irvine election only because Democrats said the original county ballot was faulty or defective, despite it already being in use and so people had to use BOTH ballots inorder to have their vote counted for the City/Irvine process...

You can see what resulted: a Democrat who few like and wanted in city government is now "Mayor" and the old mayor is not a Councilperson and the old government remains largely intact, despite the fact that the final ballot count was barely a margin to win for the "mayor" in office.

Who appears to have spent many thousands/hundreds of thousands of dollars on trashing the entire city daily with handbills, stuff in doors, mailboxes, on every corner, hacked into local websites...it was an awful experience, resulting in an objectionable and quite meager "win" for the old crowd who managed to remain camped in the city government.

Meanwhile, the area is a majority Republican voter one. It's always amazing how Democrats manage these various barnstorms of local and state elections and then try to conclude that they "won" despite the means involved. Once again, proof that Democrats value the end, not the means, as long as they get what they want. Honesty, ethics, reasonable behavior be damned, I suppose, when you have Democrats banging everyone else over the head to get to be 'first'.

Washington state kept doing... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Washington state kept doing recounts until the Democrat won. If the 3rd recount went for the Republican, they'd be doing a 4th...a 5th. There is a mindset in this country that Demcrats are supposed to win elections and if a Republican wins something's not Kosher. The fact is that Republicans must win by large margins in order to avoid having recounts.

After all...if it's close t... (Below threshold)

After all...if it's close they can't cheat. It was close. They cheated. They won.

I believe there is a scene ... (Below threshold)
berlins:

I believe there is a scene in "Key Largo", Directed by John Huston and also starring Bogart and Bacall in which Edward G. Robinson says, and I paraphrase, "We just keep counting until we got more votes than them." when talking of machine politics.

A 'manual' recount that man... (Below threshold)

A 'manual' recount that manages to count more votes then ballots in hand...

How they 'Putin' this one over?

Really, the rest of the wor... (Below threshold)
Simon:

Really, the rest of the world would like to know how difficult it is for America to just have a damn pencil with paper and a simple 'x' beside your candidate? This in conjunction with independent electoral boards - to prevent/reduce gerrymandering - by dem or GOP (since both have done/are doing/will continue to do).

If countries with similar size geographically and similar remoteness issues (e.g. Australia, Canada) can get their results per district in within 3-4 hrs, with every electoral district being satisied with the results - what is the problem with America? Then the chance of electoral fraud - or the appearance of it - SHOULD go down.

At the end of the day, I don't give a shit how you vote - and it's none of my business, but process transparency is key for my confidence in the American value of democracy.

Best of luck fixing the flaws in the system




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