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January 06, 2005

Comments

I'm pretty sure Democrats are likely to count this as payback, despite the stronger evidence of potential fraud. Personally I would rather throw it to them and use it as a good platform for true voting reform. I can't believe that both parties sat on useful and verifiable voting reform for 4 years after the Florida mess.

Wow. Just wow. I knew that ObWi tilted left for a while, but this is insane. Someone who defends talk radio? And now they give us specious links? This is more than I can take. Sorry guys, you lost me at Bird Dog.

There are nearly three times more votes in King County than Pierce County, so it would be reasonable that three times the number of felons illegally voted in King County.

Not commenting on the other points, but no, this is not necessarily reasonable, unless you assume that the population of released felons is distributed evenly. For example, King County has the highest per capita income while only 8.4% live below the poverty line. In Pierce, is it 10.5%

I've been poking around the Correctional Department website, but Pierce and King are grouped in the same region. Perhaps someone can find the statistics on felons and the number who have formally applied for reinstatement.

I think that Diebold machines were used in King county and that a 3 hour gap in the audit log was reported for the primary. {snark insertion point}

Of course, Bev Harris discussed the case of Washington quite a bit, but some suggested this was paranoia.

Your side lost, thought cookies!!! get over it!!!

I didn't hear you call for a revote when Shrub stole the election in Florida in 2000.

Don
Look, if you are going to be snarky, try to make the knife really sharp. That was more like a ballpeen hammer.

It's at times like these I'm glad that I'm Australian. The sight of the American polity ripping itself to bits, too afraid of a marginal loss of power to give an inch, too mistrusting to try and work things out with the other side, oh it's just so, hmm distopic.

factory
Dystopic, I think. I agree to a point, but it is amazing that there has not been rioting in the streets. I'm an American living overseas, and I hope it will be as Churchill said, which is that Americans will do the right thing, but only after trying all the other alternatives.

You know what, I'm gonna agree with Charles on this.

My first reaction was, "Hey, if it's good enough for the goose..." but in thinking it through (and totally ignoring the arguments provided, which imply but don't prove that any fraud benefitted the Democrat rather than the Republican) I believe that because we're apparently in an era of near-equal numbers of Rs and Ds in many states, it's time to get more sophisticated about our vote counting. This sort of nonsense cannot go on.

What I'm recommending is that Washington State be used as a laboratory in which BOTH sides learn and then agree to better methods. Deconstruct the whole mess, put a task force on it to piece it back together, and assess and recommend how to do it better going forward.

What would prevent fraud better? (If it's detectable now, it should have been detectable before the polls closed).

It's hard enough for well-meaning, but disagreeing, neighbors to get through a campaign season, without it dragging on like this. The 2000 presidential election unquestionably added to the furor many Ds still feel about the refusal to count every vote there. I can sympathize with how the Republicans in Washington must be feeling now. (And yes, it IS the same thing.)

I'm not sure evidence nor good will is entering the Dem's calculus re a revote. Call it "payback" or call it "giving no quarter" the bottom line is if the roles were reversed, what would the Republicans do? The Dems know the answer and are tired of appearing weak for not fighting to win at all costs. This time they learned their lesson and are not going to give up this hard fought battle just to open the door for losing. Frankly, I don't blame them.

the vote tallies are tainted because the will of the people cannot be determined with any reasonable level of confidence. That alone should be reason enough to call for a revote.

yeah. that sucks. but, oh well. Get Over It.

I was going to ask if you had looked at the Harris paper, but I see I screwed up the url

Lucky Gregoire and the Dems demanded the manual recount. If Gregoire had just conceded, none of this would have come up, right?

And now they give us specious links?

A simple question. Which facts were wrong? If all you have is ad hominem, then you've been lost for a while.

I think there should be a revote in Washington state at the same time they do a revote in Ohio.

I think there should be a revote in Washington state at the same time they do a revote in Ohio.

Perfect!

totally ignoring the arguments provided, which imply but don't prove that any fraud benefitted the Democrat rather than the Republican

I've been very careful in not using the F-word in the governor's race, Edward, and I believe my words apply just as equally no matter who has the 129-vote margin. Mixing in the provisionals with the legitimate ballots strikes me more as a human error than fraud but it's hard to know and hard to prove. Same goes with the felon votes. If felon voting patterns are the same here as they were in Florida (79% were registered as Democrats in 2000), there could be a case of willful negligence in Democratic strongholds such as King County, but again it's hard to know and hard to prove. What is clear is that the number of illegitimate votes well exceed the margin of victory, and that troubles me especially since Washington has had a long history of conducting fair and accurate elections. In a situation where the will of the people is now truly unknowable, and if there is a mechanism (such as a revote) where the will of the people can be known, I think a revote is the best and perhaps only equitable solution.

thought cookies!!!

Mmmm, thought cookies [drool]... Them's why I keep coming back to this site.

I guess I'm in favor of whatever resolution gets us closer to true voting reform. If having Republicans feel the sting of a loss in a tainted election is more likely to lead to that, then that's what I favor, even though it sounds like a revote is the right thing to do.

I can sympathize with how the Republicans in Washington must be feeling now. (And yes, it IS the same thing.)

I wonder... in Florida, it was pretty clear that if not for the butterfly ballot and the improper cleansing of the voter rolls, Gore would've won. Is there a sense among Republicans that Rossi is the "true" winner, or is it just that the combination of the voting irregularities and the close margin make the "true" outcome genuinely uncertain?

"If a provisional ballot is not verified and validated, the presumption holds that it is invalid, illegitimate and illegal. According to the Seattle Times:

An unknown number of provisional voters, some of whom may not even have been registered to vote, improperly put their ballots directly into vote-counting machines at polling places, King County's elections superintendent said yesterday."

At what point where these votes put into the machines? If it took place during the 'recount' I would suspect that the proper remedy is not to allow the recount total in any such county, but rather revert to pre-recount totals. Much less damaging than a revote.

Chas
I think the the links he's referring to are the radio host pages that don't actually have the points you quote. I think it is more than a bit unfair to call them 'specious', but I did feel a bit of crocodile tear quality, especially when you 'cite' Dean Logan on Dori Munson's show, but in the link to the article you gave, he was quoted as saying that the discrepancies would be cleared up. You are there, so I certainly can't argue with your view, but were Diebold machines used? Couldn't overcounts be a process of faulty software?

I deleted what I had written tweaking you about that and I'm sorry that I didn't call Carpbasman on it. However, I hope you can see that saying it is a HUGE DEAL when it didn't seem to be when Dems were complaining about it. If you have posted defenses of Dems demanding inquiries into voting irregularities, please accept my apologies and I hope you can share the links here. But it bothers me that in your Tacitus post on the matter, you said
It is important for Rossi to say that he seeks not to undermine the electoral process (like what liberals tried to do in Ohio and Florida) but to improve it and to fix it.

I don't want to make this a food fight, but try to step into some shoes on the other side of the aisle and see how they must feel when questions of voting irregularities are flippantly dismissed or hear you claim that having felons vote in King county is wrong, but deleting them when they may be eligible in Florida is well s**t happens.

I think there should be a revote in Washington state at the same time they do a revote in Ohio.

I'll join you if you can show that there were more than 119,000 illegitimate ballots, or if there more than 119,000 felon votes, or if there were 119,000 more ballots than listed voters. Apples and bicycles, votermom.

Orcinus

Dave Neiwert lives nearby (E Washington?), does not like Gregoire, and provides an analysis.

You're missing votermom's point, Charles. If what you say is true, then a revote in Ohio will confirm Bush's win there, so no harm done (figuratively speaking). But by having a revote in both locations, the message is that we value the ideal of "counting every vote" always, not just when a Republican stands to benefit.

A revote is ridiculous. Move on. If you have a problem with the Washington vote I'd suggest letting it go and jumping on the voting reform bandwagon instead being a crybaby about it.

If this concerns you so deeply maybe it will concern others deeply also and we can really move on some better voting practices.

I can only hope that when both sides get burned they can both see that something should be done.

Of course, who says politicians are interested in better voting methods?

Hmm, well, after reading the Neiwert piece, I think I'll go into Slartibartfastian Pause mode for awhile.

and provides an analysis

There was an awful lot of sneering condescension to shoulder aside to get to it. And it was more commentary than analysis; actual analysis would involve backing up some of the assertions that he makes. His points may in fact be valid, but it's impossible to tell from the information given.

His reference to Stefan Sharkansky brings to mind a get-together that they both attended in which Neiwert refused to shake Sharkansky's hand. Nice, that.

Oh, and as for whether there ought to be a revote or not, I'm right beside kenB. Ultimately, though, what I think is immaterial, because it's not my state. The reversal of roles is amusing, though, in the meantime.

A bit OT -- Sen Boxer signed the Ohio electoral vote challenge. Yes!

Slarti
First of all, I want to thank you for your comment on the Gonzales post.

With that out of the way, I want to take issue with your comment. In googling to try and find Chas comments about the election, I saw a picture">http://www.usefulwork.com/shark/archives/002904.html">picture of the get together. First of all, it was Dave Winer who refused to shake Sharkansky's hand. But beside that, you weren't there and you really can't judge what he meant or if he was joking, or if he thought he was joking and it went over like a lead balloon.

Moving on the Neiwert's piece, he commented on a pattern of behavior. Yes, he's got sharp elbows, but that's his style, and parsing whether it is 'assertion' versus 'analysis' seems like misdirection to me. I can think of a few folks from the gauche droite who present the same sort of 'assertion' as 'analysis' and have done so in the past two months on this site. And he links all the quotes to the documents where one can find them, not simply asserting them and demanding other folks to explain. Given that all of these facts were presented long before this question came up, it leads one to question if the claims of John Carlson are a bit exaggerated.

Ah. Serves me right; now I must retract. Thanks for the correction.

As for the assertion/analysis bit, I'm standing by that. Maybe if "cursory" was used in front of "analysis", I'd agree.

Dang. When I retract, I really ought to do it properly.

Above, I attributed an action to Neiwert that was in fact done by someone else. I retract that, acknowledge it to be utterly incorrect, and offer my apologies for the mistake.

Hopefully that's going to do it.

Sen Boxer signed the Ohio electoral vote challenge.

Hopefully we'll soon see an article to that effect.

Dave Neiwert lives nearby (E Washington?), does not like Gregoire, and provides an analysis.

Dave's a Seattleite. Most of what he wrote is accurate and he has his own opinion about Democrat and Republican words and actions. I think he's wrong in minimizing the fact that illegal votes were cast, and that the number well exceeds the margin of victory.

Thanks, Slart and Chas. Appreciated.

The vote in Washington was by all intents and purposes a tie, well within the margin of human error not to mention any mendacity. If the republicans had been calling for a re-vote prior to losing the final count they would have some credibility on this issue. They didn't. They don't.

I personally support mandatory re-votes with new candidates in such close races, but that is not currently what the law would have us do.

Charles: "I'll join you if you can show that there were more than 119,000 illegitimate ballots, or if there more than 119,000 felon votes"

What if there were 120k voters in poor areas with insufficient numbers of voting machines standing in line for >n hours who left when they were compelled to get to work/the rain started/the babysitter was about to leave/...? And those involved in the registration/provisional ballot fiascos? And Blackwell's likely illegal efforts against HAVA? It's not at all clear to me that a well-run fair election would have returned the same result. I think it's way too late to have that well-run fair election now though.

What if there were 120k voters in poor areas with insufficient numbers of voting machines standing in line for >n hours who left when they were compelled to get to work/the rain started/the babysitter was about to leave/...

Odd that the bipartisan elections committees in Ohio were able to effect such a margin of victory for the Republicans. I'd think at least one Democrat would squeal, but they're all keeping mum, so far. Maybe they were bought.

You're missing votermom's point, Charles.

Not at all. It is a fact that the number of illegitimate votes exceed the margin of victory. Under state law, that should be sufficient grounds for successfully contesting an election. There is no evidence that that is the case in Ohio. There have been vague charges of voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement, mostly in Cuyahoga County. The Democratic majority on the board of election supervisors takes serious issue with the allegation.

Heh.. would you like some cheese with that whine Charles?

For the record, on the non-handshaking incident between Sharkansky and Winer, I was at that get-together though I had to leave before the picture-taking began. Winer's a big personality with a nice sense of humor. It was a joke.

Wow. Wrong in two quite different ways in one sentence. Ok, that retracted as well.

the vote tallies are tainted because the will of the people cannot be determined with any reasonable level of confidence. That alone should be reason enough to call for a revote.

This is one of the funniest and most hypocritical things I've ever seen you write, Charles. Did you feel the same way about Florida in 2000, where the margin was nearly as thin and the outcome was decided not because of a recount, but when that recount was shut down by those activist judges you so despise?

I refer you to my comments here and here, responding to your Tacitus editorial about this mess. You want to get behind voting reform? Bravo. I'm glad to see you coming on board, since we've only been talking about it for four years running. But calling for a revote over Rossi's loss has the distinct odor of hypocrisy and opportunism. Your assertion that Gregoire couldn't govern with any confidence in the outcome went /double or more/ for Bush in 2000, yet what was your response then to people who called it into question? I'll give you bonus points if you provide a link to a comment you made calling for a revote in Florida for the sake of confidence in the outcome.

Don't get me wrong--I'm ready to give you the benefit of the doubt of genuinely wanting to work towards meaningful voting reform. It's something every American should care deeply about, but I understand it may be easier to get on board with if you've just been bitten by a really shoddily-run election. But here's a deal: a revote in Washington for a revote in Ohio. Setting aside the partisan blinders for a moment, there's real evidence of incompetence and corner-cutting in Washington, and reams of evidence of GOP voter intimidation and suppression tactics in Ohio. Revote both. Surely that's fair, right? Takes away all question of there being a partisan stake in the whole revote idea.

Otherwise, you can kindly live with the outcome of a questionable election like the rest of us have had to do these last four years. Then, once you no longer have overturning an election to worry about, we can talk about voting reform and see if you're still interested.

Heh.. would you like some cheese with that whine Charles?

You're far less clever than you might think, Bill.

You're missing votermom's point, Charles.

Not at all.

But you ARE missing the point, Blanche. You ARE. (sorry...couldn't resist).

This is not about whether or not there's a stronger case for a recount in Washington than in Ohio to the angry Democrats. I personally already believe a recount will result in Bush being shown to be the winner there. But I believe doing the recount would go a long way toward ending a growing mistrust of the process. It's about correcting a perception, right or wrong, that Democrats are being cheated. Do the recount in Ohio. Use it as part of a national reassessment of the process...something so many people called for after 2000, but which we never got.

Edward, anything that's done in Washington will comply with state law. As far as I've seen (obligatory: IANAL) there's no provision for a revote in Florida state statute.

"I personally already believe a recount will result in Bush being shown to be the winner there. But I believe doing the recount would go a long way toward ending a growing mistrust of the process."

Am I wrong, or wasn't there already a recount in Ohio that showed Bush to be the winner there? NYT I also agree with Mindles H. Dreck that as often when reporting statistics the headline is misleading.

The problem in Ohio is the counting of provisional ballots as real ballots without verification. It kind of destroys the point of having provisional ballots, and IMHO is not likely to have been a mistake.

Catsy,
There was no mechanism for a revote in Florida 2000. As for your spurious charges of "hypocrisy", I've always been in favor of legislation and procedures that would most accurately reflect the will of the people. Your logic on a revote in Ohio is tortured since there is no evidence of illegitimate ballots on a scale of 119,000. I won't be holding my breath for you to find such evidence.

Your assertion that Gregoire couldn't govern with any confidence in the outcome went /double or more/ for Bush in 2000, yet what was your response then to people who called it into question?

I've made no such assertions about Gregoire's governing one way or the other. I've made no statements that a Gregoire governorship would be illegitimate. I've also made no claims that extra-judicial actions be taken. There is a mechanism under the state law for contesting an election, and I'm now standing behind this contest. I'm also appealing to the better judgment of the Democrat-controlled state legislature to make the right decision and schedule a revote.

Argghhh!

I'm talking about healing here folks.

You're clinging to technicalities to insist on a recount where a Republican may benefit but prohibit a recount where a Democrat may benefit...can't you see how that looks to the other side?

Thanks for correcting that, Slartbatifast. I in fact spent quite a bit of time talking with Stefan and enjoyed his company. I don't think, though, that I shook his hand in any of the pictures because I was the one taking shots with Stefan's camera. We did shake when he left, I think. It was Winer who refused to join in. If that's what liberal is, I ain't one.

A few things about your thesis, Charles:

1) I don't think I'm minimizing the problems with the ballots so much as explaining that they don't amount to fraud, which is the primary reason for overturning an election. Clerical mistakes occur in every election, and are not included in state law as an acceptable reason for contesting the vote. I agree that the difference falls within the margin of error, but there's no evidence that fixing or preventing the errors would have altered the outcome, either.

2) The logic of your argument would have called for a revote in Florida in 2000, particularly in light of the Palm Beach butterfly-ballot issue and a total 500-vote margin based on a machine recount. That is, the difference could easily have been wiped out by compensating for the many errors that were made in the first counts. Now, as a matter of principle, I actually think a revote would have been a reasonable way to reach a clearer outcome in Florida, and by extension in Washington too. But the GOP would never have considered it in Florida, and they'd never have considered it in Washington, either, had the outcomes been reversed. And frankly, I am not inclined to play Marquis of Queensbury to a bunch of street thugs.

3) Finally, what guarantee can you offer that "the will of the people" will be any clearer on a revote than on the first one? What if the margin is even smaller?

can't you see how that looks to the other side?

I dunno, but I'd hope it'd look something like an ex post facto law. Or have I once again missed your point.

Do the recount in Ohio.

That's not what Charles is demanding though, Edward. There has already been a recount in Washington State. There have been two, in fact--the first one mandated by law, and the second one paid for by Gregoire and allowed by law. In each of them, Rossi's lead shrank until it vanished. With such a tiny margin, it could have easily gone the other way.

In order for there to be equity here, there would have to be a complete /revote/ in Ohio--with the same kind of oversights and scrutiny that Charles is calling for in Washington. Presumably with attention paid to the undersupply of voting machines in minority districts, the suppression tactics and deception leveled against minority and Democratic-leaning areas, and the screwups that probably aren't engineered by anyone but which need to be fixed.

The presidential election could flip in such a revote. I don't think it would; while I don't think Bush's margin was nearly as high as the certified count, I still think he won. But it could. And so could the Washington State election.

I sympathize with your calls for unity, Edward, but this is /my/ state you're talking about blithely offering up and risking flipping back to Rossi. I have to live with the outcome. And while I'm all in favor of voting reform, this is just another iteration in the bipartisan date rape scenario that the GOP likes to pull. Let me explain how it goes: you have a subject about which both Democrats and Republicans should rightly feel strongly, but it benefits the GOP for things to be a certain way, so the GOP fights for that. Then, when the shoe is on the other foot, the GOP flip flops and argues the opposite. The Democrats, in the spirit of bipartisanship or out of fear of bad press, roll over for it. Result: the GOP gets what it wants, while the Democratic Party has to sit there and take it.

They have done this to us over and over again. They've done it on filibuster rules. They've done it on ethics investigations. They did it on Homeland Security. They're trying to do it on torture. And now, after Democrats have been screaming for voting reform for the last four years so that we don't have another 2000, there's an election that the GOP stands to gain by overturning or undermining confidence in--and suddenly, there's the GOP and its reliable parrots like Charles, amazingly invested with an interest in voting reform and contradicting everything they've said in the past about people doing exactly what they're doing now.

I know the shoe feels mighty different when it's on the other foot, but they don't get to do this. They will get their day in court. They will get shot down, like the lawsuit in Ohio will be. And then, after the GOP no longer has a stake in changing or preserving the outcome of an election, let's see how serious they really are about voting reform. I'm game.

Thank you, Dave, for a gracious acceptance. I'm really rather a poor shot with the dueling pistol.

Nice rant Catsy!

I dunno, but I'd hope it'd look something like an ex post facto law. Or have I once again missed your point.

Sadly, yes.

No one on the right here is looking at this as an opportunity to achieve anything more than another Republican governorship. I think Catsy's assessment is more on the mark than I would have thought before this thread.

Oh, and Catsy: there was quite a bit of revision of Florida electoral statute after the 2000 election. Most of it was designed to prevent more of the same problem, but it worked rather well. I'm pretty sure, though, that we still don't have a provision for revote. I'd have to be convinced that a revote is ever a good idea, before I could get behind any effort to fold it into law.

"You're clinging to technicalities to insist on a recount where a Republican may benefit but prohibit a recount where a Democrat may benefit...can't you see how that looks to the other side?"

Edward, there has in fact been a recount in Ohio. Bush did in fact win in the recount. A recount in Ohio is not being prohibited. It has in fact taken place.

Can anyone closer to the situation tell me when the provisional ballots were mixed in? Was it before or after the initial count?

Anyone?

For the record, I feel certain that a revote in Washington would result in a Rossi landslide, that a revote in Ohio would result in a Bush landslide, and that a revote in Florida would have resulted in a clear Gore win. My feeling is that in the case of clear tampering/fraud in important elections, revotes are impossible: the benefitee ought to step down and the other guy ought to govern moderately with bipartisan staff/etc. This is in fact probably my biggest source of anger at Bush 43/I (well, don't hold me to that).

Charles aprreciate the even-temperedness of your January 6, 2005 12:29 PM.

Slart: "I'd think at least one Democrat would squeal, but they're all keeping mum, so far."

Is there some survey I missed showing uniform Democratic committee member satisfaction with the election, the post-election, the distribution of voting machines as a function of property tax, etc.?

Never mind about the timing. It took place immediately, which is ridiculous but uncurable. I can't support a revote. I would however want to consider serious penalties for the election supervisor who allowed it if there were significant numbers of provisional ballots were treated that way. I think one of the reasons we don't have more voting accountability is because we don't hold anyone accountable for the things that look like fraud.

Still clinging to the technicalities here though Sebastian. Essentially not looking beyond them to take advantage of an opportunity to address a nontechnical lack of faith in the process.

As Catsy notes:

There has already been a recount in Washington State. There have been two, in fact--the first one mandated by law, and the second one paid for by Gregoire and allowed by law.

Yes, I get it. Without the Supreme Courts of each state saying definitively (as far as I know), the very capable legal minds here belief the Ohio recount options have run their course while the Washintong recount options have not. Got it.

But you've still got an army of angry folks who believe the process is broken, and what they'll see at the end of yet another Washington recount, without another Ohio one, is that Republicans get what they want whereas Democrats do not, in the current climate. I'm not saying it's a fair or accurate assessment, but in the day and age where perception=reality, it is important. Maybe my idea is NOT the best way to assure the angry Dems that the process is not broken, I'll admit it, but the fact that no one on the right here seems to care about that is truly frustrating.

Is there some survey I missed showing uniform Democratic committee member satisfaction with the election, the post-election, the distribution of voting machines as a function of property tax, etc.?

No, why do you ask? Point is, if there had been a deliberate calculated effort to disenfranchise Democratic voters as you've implied, the Democratic members of the county boards of election couldn't NOT know about it. And they're not talking, AFAIK.

sorry for the hysterical rants here...mixing my emotions about the Gonzales hearing with this issue...feeling helpless...

gonna go work it off at the gym...

e

/tweak/Sebastian, you want to completely reform social security, but you can't support a recount?/tweakend/

But you've still got an army of angry folks who believe the process is broken, and what they'll see at the end of yet another Washington recount, without another Ohio one, is that Republicans get what they want whereas Democrats do not, in the current climate.

For what it's worth, if this election was what it took to get the GOP genuinely behind voter reform, I'm good with that. I just don't think it's genuine. I think that /individual Republicans/ like Charles might be, but that Rossi and the party leadership are simply trying to exploit an issue the Democrats have already taken a stand on, reversing their previous positions in order to back the Democrats into giving them what they want. I can almost guarantee you that a month from now, when all the dust from this election has hopefully settled, you won't hear a peep about it from Republicans who weren't already active on the subject.

So I repeat: don't contest the Gregoire election. She won. Take the conflict of interest for both parties off the table. Let's make this not about one or two elections, but about reforming the fundamental problems and corruption in our entire system of voting. /That/ is bipartisanship I can get behind.

"Still clinging to the technicalities here though Sebastian. Essentially not looking beyond them to take advantage of an opportunity to address a nontechnical lack of faith in the process."

What do you want out of Ohio? Seriously. Ralph Nader sponsered a recount hoping to embarass Bush. It didn't work out that way at all. Other than changing the outcome what do you want?

"But you've still got an army of angry folks who believe the process is broken, and what they'll see at the end of yet another Washington recount, without another Ohio one, is that Republicans get what they want whereas Democrats do not, in the current climate. I'm not saying it's a fair or accurate assessment, but in the day and age where perception=reality, it is important."

Heh, I don't think I'll be using that argument in the Social Security debate. You'd rake me over the coals.

Liberal Japonicus, I have supported a recount. The recount actually happened. I don't support a revote. In either location. What exactly do you want from me other than an object to tweak fun at?

What I don't support is voter fraud. And provisional ballot counting is pretty good preliminary evidence of voter fraud because it removes one of the main balancing safeguards which is supposed to ensure that invalid voters don't have their votes counted.

"Or have I once again missed your point."

I have a point which you missed (fair, since I'm only now going to throw it). Why was the Republican rhetoric in this entry all about the principle of the will of the people and accurate elections until such time as it was pointed out the same principles would have demanded a revote in Florida, at which point that rhetoric went away and it became about the principle of consistent application of the law?

If that is the true reasoning, there must be a large body of work under Mssr. Bird's appelation that runs along these lines: "Oh, Florida confounds me. The principle of the will of the people demands a revote there, and I so wish we could have one. But it rends my heart to say that there is no opportunity for such a contingency under Florida law. I must gnash my teeth and acquiesce, living forevermore with the dark shadow of doubt about the true outcome". I can't seem to find that corpus, so if anyone could send along a link, that would be appreciated. You might find it between the 'Ha ha, we won, sore losers' and 'see, this is what's wrong with liberals' entries.

If not, I hope you'll forgive me for believing that that is not the true reasoning, and the true reasoning is 'I really want Dino Rossi to win, and this is a potential avenue to that end' and that if Gregoire were in the same situation, no sympathy would be forthcoming.

(I voted for Bennett. In the event of a recount I would probably vote for Gregoire with extreme prejudice)

And provisional ballot counting is pretty good preliminary evidence of voter fraud because it removes one of the main balancing safeguards which is supposed to ensure that invalid voters don't have their votes counted.

Untrue. I voted with a provisional ballot. I did so because I was registered as an absentee voter, but decided to go to the polls. This is allowed by law.

Furthermore, there's a perfectly valid explanation for why there are significant numbers of provisional ballots in this election: voter registration tactics.

When I was doing voter reg canvassing, we were strongly encouraged to get as many people to switch to absentee as possible. The benefits of this are many: people who register absentee are far likelier to vote than not, and absentee votes have a degree of confidence that is lacking in the current voting systems. More to the point, we pointed out to anyone who liked to go to the polls that they could still do so--they'd just have to bring their absentee ballot with them. We especially encouarged people who were concerned about touch-screen voting machines to do this.

The result of this, since we targeted demographically liberal areas, is that there are large numbers of Gregoire votes that are provisional ballots. There's nothing nefarious about it--it's legal, legitimate, and ethical.

The problem as I understand it is that the provisional ballots were inserted directly into the machines so that they couldn't be isolated and verified. Fraud is possible. Confusion is more likely. The same sort of confusion and/or fraud that would occur in a revote.

Why was the Republican rhetoric in this entry all about the principle of the will of the people and accurate elections until such time as it was pointed out the same principles would have demanded a revote in Florida, at which point that rhetoric went away and it became about the principle of consistent application of the law?

I can't answer for the others, but I can answer for myself: revotes were being discussed for Washington because revotes are (I'm guessing, here) provided for in Washington state statute. The notion that any revote ought to have been done in Florida is dismissed for the reason that revotes are NOT provided for in Florida statute. There's no double-standard here; the standard is the rule of law. Oh, sure, maybe it's possible that revotes ought to have been part of Florida statute, but the past can't be undone, barring time travel.

As for the rest of your post: presumptive and insulting. The ball.

And provisional ballot counting is pretty good preliminary evidence of voter fraud because it removes one of the main balancing safeguards which is supposed to ensure that invalid voters don't have their votes counted.

Untrue. I voted with a provisional ballot. I did so because I was registered as an absentee voter, but decided to go to the polls. This is allowed by law.

Wow, that is so completely missing the point that I'm flabbergasted. We are talking about counting provisional ballots WITHOUT VERIFIYING THEIR VALIDITY. Right? Isn't that the subject of this conversation? The whole point of having provisional ballots is that you don't count them unless they are shown to be from validly registered voters who have not already voted in the election in question. I'm not questioning the utility of provisional ballots in general. I'm being appalled by the idea of counting provisional ballots without bothering to verify their validity.

There is definitely the likelyhood of something nefarious in having provisional ballots counted without verifying their validity because the whole point of having provisional ballot is to verify their validity before counting them with regular ballots. When you undermine the whole point of a safeguard, you should at least look into why that safeguard was circumvented. If you wanted to commit voter fraud, I can think of almost no easier way to do so than to corrupt the provisional ballot system.

David,
I appreciate your response, and I'll offer a point-by-point rebuttal.

1. Let me play back your own words:

Now the GOP is moving toward contesting the election, which can only take place on such grounds as "misconduct on the part of election workers; the ineligibility of a candidate to hold office; or the casting of illegal votes."
Emphasis mine. Provisional ballots are presumed invalid until verified and given the okay. When a provisional ballot is tossed into the mix of legitimate ballots without the required pre-screening, that constitutes the casting of an illegal vote. When a felon votes, it is the casting of an illegal vote.

I didn't change my mind lightly. I earlier called for an independent audit to investigate what went on, but the situation has now changed and the tipping point has been reached (at least for me). Leaving aside the machinations from both parties (and there have been many), the fact still remains that at least hundreds of illegitimate ballots were counted as valid votes. If the legislature won't act, there remains due process under law to contest.

2. There was no provision under law for a revote in Florida 2000.

3. As long as there isn't the taint of illegitimate ballots, any voting margin on a revote shouldn't matter. Unless the margin is zero! Better a micro-thin but trustworthy margin than the current cloud, don't you think?

Essentially, a revote ain't going to happen in WA state; mind-bendingly goofy weblinks and speculation on balls notwithstanding.

But let's entertain the notion of a revote for a moment. What would repeating a process alleged to be so fraudulent and error-prone accomplish? Nothing.

And let's apply the Dershowitz 'shoe-on-the-other foot' test; would BD be demanding a do-over if Rossi had been ruled the winner? Of course not.

Look, we all know there exists problems with voting in this country. This problem isn't new. Moreover, it's a problem that is, for the most part, overcome using technology and processes that exist. That's where the focus should be--at improving and standardizing the voting process nationwide.

Liberal Japonicus, I have supported a recount. The recount actually happened. I don't support a revote. In either location. What exactly do you want from me other than an object to tweak fun at?

A tweak doesn't require you do anything, just noting that it seems interesting that when someone says that they don't want to change the social security, it's 'intellectual abnegation' IIRC but when Edward suggests (in a bipartisan manner) something that, though hopelessly optimistic, would be a step in the right direction, you slap him down. You say

Never mind about the timing. It took place immediately, which is ridiculous but uncurable. I can't support a revote. I would however want to consider serious penalties for the election supervisor who allowed it if there were significant numbers of provisional ballots were treated that way.

But I recall no complaints of Katherine Harris (though you may have, I just don't recall them) or of Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matt Damschroder or of GOP Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell and his treatment of provisional ballots.

I think it was you that said "contribute to the discussion and try for useful change." Certainly a useful change would be to take partisan advantage off the table, support Gregoire as the winner while demanding a full and complete investigation of _all_ irregularities in the Nov election with the aim being to solve the problems. Remember, it's not who wins what, as 243 pointed out, is essentially a dead heat, but whether the system that is broken and in a 'crisis' is fixed.

But as I said, this is just a tweak. I expect no action from anyone when I post.

As Stephen Breyer said about Bush v. Gore, "people are tremendous self-kidders."

Working backwards,
"As for the rest of your post: presumptive and insulting. The ball."

No, it was just a lot more in good fun than it came through as. Writing "Oh, Florida confounds me" from BD's perspective was a gas. I am, however, legitimately interested in any existing content along those lines.

"Oh, sure, maybe it's possible that revotes ought to have been part of Florida statute, but the past can't be undone, barring time travel."

Any regret regarding that? See, that's exactly my point. There is a different in kind, not just degree, betwen 'Oh, sure, maybe it's possible that revotes ought to have been part of. . ' and 'It is a travesty that we are unable to know the will of the people of Florida because. . '. The logical content is more or less the same, but of course the implication is tremendously different. The fact is that the 'will of the people' in Washington is much more interesting to the Republicans than the 'will of the people' in Florida, for obvious reasons. Do you deny it?

From Outside The Beltway, I believe quoting John Fund, we have this:

There is no provision in Washington state law for holding a new election. It would have to be ordered by the state Supreme Court or by a special session of the legislature.

I suspect that in the case of a successful lawsuit, the choice of remedy would still be at the discretion of the judges.

There is no provision in Washington state law for holding a new election. It would have to be ordered by the state Supreme Court or by a special session of the legislature.

This is the case in WA. In FL, the courts can and have ordered revotes in instances of disputed elections.

but when Edward suggests (in a bipartisan manner) something that, though hopelessly optimistic, would be a step in the right direction, you slap him down. You say

Never mind about the timing. It took place immediately, which is ridiculous but uncurable. I can't support a revote. I would however want to consider serious penalties for the election supervisor who allowed it if there were significant numbers of provisional ballots were treated that way.

How am I slapping Edward down? Is he calling for a revote? I thought he wasn't.

Certainly a useful change would be to take partisan advantage off the table, support Gregoire as the winner while demanding a full and complete investigation of _all_ irregularities in the Nov election with the aim being to solve the problems. Remember, it's not who wins what, as 243 pointed out, is essentially a dead heat, but whether the system that is broken and in a 'crisis' is fixed.

Let me summarize my position. A) Counting provisional ballots without verifying them looks like fraud. B) The recounts have already taken place. C) I don't support a revote. (Corollary Gregoire wins unless we can deal with the fraud allegations somehow.) D) I support investigating the potential fraud.

Are you even disagreeing with me? You sound like are, you talk like you are, but I can't figure how which point you think is wrong.

I'm not really a fan of revotes unless election-altering fraud is proven. It is strongly suggested in this case, but further investigation is needed. But even then I'm not sure I would support a revote. I would support jail time for the malefactor unless collusion with the candidate (or maybe the campaign)could be shown. In that case I would support jail time for the candidate and a special election under the special election statutes.

I don't have a camp, since I really know nothing about Washington state law. In general, I think, now as ever: follow the law as it exists; work as hard as possible to get some solutions in place that will make all of this never happen again; don't let this issue be forgotten.

In particular: nonpartisan election commissions, not Secretaries of State, should be in charge of the process; all voting should be verifiable and auditable; all states should obviously have the databases needed to see whether someone is registered and, if so, where, and all polling places should have access to them immediately, so that people could be directed to their proper polling place; and there should be enough polling places and machines to ensure that no one has to wait more than, say, half an hour. If this costs money, so be it: democracy is worth it.

As usual, Dave Neiwert presents this issue in much better context than relying on the gripes of a failed GOP gubernatorial candidate and various rightwing talk show hosts.

Replaying Florida in Washington

In particular: nonpartisan election commissions, not Secretaries of State, should be in charge of the process;

But what's the process for selecting those commissioners that will ensure their nonpartisanship?

all voting should be verifiable and auditable;

I think the big hurdle here is reconciling this need with the secrecy of the vote. It's verifiable and auditable only if there's a record of who voted for whom, and once the record is there, somebody's going to have access to it.

I'm in whole-hearted agreement with the other two suggestions. Anyone know of any states that have or are moving toward having a secure on-line database of registered voters? Whenever I vote, I'm always struck by the incongruity of our great technologically-advanced nation relying on little old ladies crossing off names in a notebook in order to verify people's voting status.

And let's apply the Dershowitz 'shoe-on-the-other foot' test; would BD be demanding a do-over if Rossi had been ruled the winner? Of course not.

A Karnak Award for mindreading by liberals to thee. For the record, I wasn't thrilled that Democrats pursued all avenues of legal recourse in the post-election limbo, but I didn't object either. If anything, you have to tip your hat to the party machine in King County.

JerryN,
You truncated Fund. The rest of the paragraph reads: "Sam Reed, the state's secretary of state, says a rerun of the election is eminently doable and notes that a small town in Washington did rerun an election after it was discovered that some people who were ineligible had been allowed to cast ballots." Like I wrote, there is precedent for a revote.

A Karnak Award for mindreading by liberals to thee. For the record, I wasn't thrilled that Democrats pursued all avenues of legal recourse in the post-election limbo, but I didn't object either.

Not mindreading; it's an empirical certainty.

Look, anybody who loses a state-wide election in WA by 42 votes and doesn't pursue legally-mandated recounts probably is the wrong line of work. Yet, you quote John Carlson and identify him as a talkshow host, rather than the significant amplifying fact he was the 2000 GOP gubernatorial candidate. And Carlson is on record (via an op/ed) telling Gregoire she shouldn't pursue a recount.

Charles - the fact remains that, "There was no provision under law for a revote in Florida 2000." is also the case in Washington. There may be precedent for court ordered revotes, but it is not part of the process covered by the statutes.

Advocates of a WA re-vote are advocating rule by the mob over the rule of law.

The entire recount process in WA has been conducted by the applicable laws. Demanding revotes instead of following laws is rule by mob law.

As for particular ballots that are claimed to be legally defective but allegedly counted anyway, WA law provides for a procedure to contest those alleged votes. RCA Title 29A, Chapter 68 (here). It appears that a re-vote can result if the alleged vote problems can actually be proved (as well as other requirements).

Advocating a revote before it is proved is Alice in Wonderland justice -- verdict first, trial later.

WA law seems a lot more organized and logical than FA 2000 law concerning election challenges (which was another reason why there was such a problem there in 2000). I would trust that process over a revote mania generated by right-wing talk radio based on wildly exaggerated claims about alleged frauds.

Advocates of a WA re-vote are advocating rule by the mob over the rule of law.

The entire recount process in WA has been conducted by the applicable laws. Demanding revotes instead of following laws is rule by mob law.

OK, so I walked away from this thread because I realized I didn't know the law well enough to continue commenting, but you mean to tell me that the call for a revote in Washington is no more allowable under current law than the idea of another recount in Ohio?

In other words, the charge that I was calling for a "ex post facto law" is actually a charge that applies in the opposite direction???

Say it ain't so...

here are some">http://www.tacitus.org/story/2004/10/28/84724/020">some previous examples">http://www.tacitus.org/comments/2004/10/28/84724/020/8#8">examples of Charles’ long and admirable history of bipartisanship in evaluating reports of election irregularities. There’s also this http://www.tacitus.org/?op=displaystory;sid=2004/12/23/75240/194December 23">post on the subject, stating that “It is important for Rossi to say that he seeks not to undermine the electoral process (like what liberals tried to do in Ohio and Florida) but to improve it and to fix it.”

Maybe you think you honestly think you would feel the same way if the shoe were on the other foot. But as someone who has read a lot of what you wrote: I can’t say for sure, but I find the possibility so absurd as to be hilarious. With the best intentions in the world, you would believe the right wing sources, no matter how bad their track record (I remember you sourcing several posts from WorldNet Daily), and disbelieve the left wing and “MSM” sources, no matter how credible they were. As I said above, “people are tremendous self-kidders”. I’m sure I am too to some degree, but I really hope it’s not this blatant.

There may be precedent for court ordered revotes, but it is not part of the process covered by the statutes.

I think we're talking semantics. As noted in the P-I: "If a court were to set the election aside, it could choose the winner, call for a new election or send the matter to the Legislature (something the Republicans would likely dread because it is controlled by Democrats)." Seems to me like the contesting of an election is sanctioned by state law and, by extension, its remedies via case law.

As for your claim that the provisional ballots can be challenged under RCA Title 29A, Chapter 68, dm, your cite doesn't apply. The provisional ballots in King County were identical to the regular ballots. Once those illegitimate ballots were tossed into the larger population, there was no way to even identify them. The fact that there will be 1,200 or so more ballots than voters speaks to the extent of the problem and to extent of the tainting of the vote-counting that took place.

If there are any republican senators or congressmen in favor of electoral reform, they have the perfect opportunity to speak up right now.

"Once those illegitimate ballots were tossed into the larger population, there was no way to even identify them."

Once a voter goes home without casting a ballot because his registration got shredded, because he was incorrectly purged from the voting rolls based on an erroneous determination that he was a felon, because he was told he needed to produce 2 forms of identification when the state requires no such thing, because he was intimidated by police cars, because the lines are 10 hours long on account of unequal distribution of voting equipment and he couldn't afford to wait that long--there is no way to identify him or allow him to vote.

And the improperly disenfranchised voter actually had the right to cast a vote. Whereas most of the provisional ballots, while they certainly should not have been put in the machines without being checked, were probably perfectly legitimate, or should not have been counted for some narrow procedural reason like voting in the wrong precinct but were still the only ballot cast by a legal resident who had the right to vote. (I've had to cast a provisional ballot in about 1/5 of the elections I've voted in. Believe me, I don't go committing election fraud.)

Charles, the point I'm trying to make is that it would appear that the legal basis for a revote in Washington is essentially the same as in Florida and most other states. That is, it's one of several possible remedies when an election result is set aside by the court.

Oh, and this requirement (RCW 29A.68.100 Illegal votes -- List required for testimony):

No testimony may be received as to any illegal votes unless the party contesting the election delivers to the opposite party, at least three days before trial, a written list of the number of illegal votes and by whom given, that the contesting party intends to prove at the trial. No testimony may be received as to any illegal votes, except as to such as are specified in the list.
may be hard to meet. (Emphasis added). I'd guess that the claim will have to be made under the provisions for misconduct by the elections board at the precinct or county level.

"And the improperly disenfranchised voter actually had the right to cast a vote. Whereas most of the provisional ballots, while they certainly should not have been put in the machines without being checked, were probably perfectly legitimate, or should not have been counted for some narrow procedural reason like voting in the wrong precinct but were still the only ballot cast by a legal resident who had the right to vote. (I've had to cast a provisional ballot in about 1/5 of the elections I've voted in. Believe me, I don't go committing election fraud.)"

In Ohio approximately 80% of provisionals were deemed valid. In a 42 vote election, 20% of thousands is likely to be decisive. Furthermore that is 80% valid when you are allowed to check them. When someone has stopped you from checking them, you can at least worry that they did so to stop you from discovering fraud.

Do we all agree that unverified provisional ballots ought not be counted?

Do we all agree that an election officer making provisional ballots impossible to distinguish from other ballots is worthy of investigation?

We don't have to agree on a remedy to agree that would be bad, right?

I think it is relavent to point out that WA election law was revised after FL 2000. State Senator Rossi voted for the legislation that was enacted, the legislation which governs the current election. I think, in a slightly snarky aside, that if he does not like the way things played out then he should have paid more attention when he was voting for the legislation.

Rossi's options under the election laws are exhausted. He can go outside the election law and contend in the courts that the state and the counties did not follow proper procedure and seek redress from the courts. So far as I know, he has not filed a case yet.

On the other hand, asking for an unprecendented (at least in WA) remedy, like a revote, that lacks the support of even one of the three branches of government does not seem to be kosher.

Do you deny it?

Yes. How people actually intended to vote in either place is unknowable. What's more, it's still going to be unknowable (to a hopefully lesser extent) were a revote to take place.

Wow, I just provided a link to a post I thought informative. I actually hesitated over the word "analysis" my first choice was "story". "Commentary" might have been better. I am maybe too used to the left side that I overlooked some controversial material in the post, all I can say is that it was more even-handed than Gilliard's post on Washington. :) I really don't want to put links here that are patently offensive to the right half.

Anyway, Jadegold repeated the link, so blame him.

Bob, I personally am glad you posted it -- it was useful to see a different take on the matter (knocking me back into agnosticism on the validity of the claims), and I think Niewert is well-enough known (aside from the confusion with another blogger who also has the letters w, i, n, e, and r in his name) that anyone considering whether to follow the link would know what kind of tone to expect.

(Of course, not so well-known that no one ever misspells his name -- Neiwert).

Wow, that's a lot of comments on our humble little state. For those non-Seattle-ites who are interested the Weekly has a story from one of the (Dem) vote counters. Rather interesting.

As a side note even if Rossi does manage to force a re-vote I think it will go badly for him. There is a large discrepancy between the number of Murray and Kerry votes and Gregoire's final tally. In all likihood many of these people are likely to try to punish Rossi for continuing the drama. Never underestimate the motivating factor of spite.

I'm a life long committed Democrat but I was initially in favor of a recount (after reading BD's post) However, agfter reading the link upthread to the Weekly article I have changed my mnd. What the Weekly writer describes is all too familiar: the religious fervor turning into a win-at-all-costs mentality that ignores ethics and honesty, the raising of false issues, the pretense of victimization, the staging of emotional scenes, the bullying. This is how Rush Limbaugh ( except for the religiousity) operates. Now the Republican party of Washington will spread disinformation to create the false impression of fraud so that they can get their Rove-clone into office. If you haven't read the link to the Weekly from Fledermus, please do so.

"We don't have to agree on a remedy to agree that would be bad, right?"

Right. And I'm fine with an investigation. Just, a given # of unverified provisionals counted is only 1/5 as bad as an equal # of people improperly prevented from voting.

"What the Weekly writer describes is all too familiar: the religious fervor turning into a win-at-all-costs mentality that ignores ethics and honesty, the raising of false issues, the pretense of victimization, the staging of emotional scenes, the bullying."

I don't mean to be rude, but you know that was written by a self-professed partisan right? In her mind it seems as if the Democrats didn't play any games themselves. Is that likely? I think not since she came from the Democratic controlled county of ever more and more inexplicably 'discovered' ballots.

"Right. And I'm fine with an investigation. Just, a given # of unverified provisionals counted is only 1/5 as bad as an equal # of people improperly prevented from voting."

Sure, and we have cases of provisionals counted while we have rumors of people prevented from voting. Because we know, for instance that those who don't appear on the rolls get to use provisional ballots. Which perhaps should enter the mental calculation.

"for instance that those who don't appear on the rolls get to use provisional ballots."

well, yeah, assuming the laws are followed, but isn't that kind of begging the question?

Also note: many invalid provisional ballots are invalid for narrow procedural reasons rather than because the voter is voting multiple times, or voting in a jurisdiction where he doesn't have that right.

Finally: I believe all constitutional election laws should be strictly enforced. But when there are just and unjust (IMO) laws in direct conflict--the right of every non-felon to vote and the illegality of felons' voting--I get more upset when the just law is broken than the unjust one.

I'm not talking specifically about Washington when I'm talking about voter disenfranchisement, I am speaking in general terms and especially Ohio and Florida. In those places it's definitely not just "rumor".

Interesting Weekly story, Fledermaus, but it shed no light on the issue of illegitimate ballots.

I think not since she came from the Democratic controlled county of ever more and more inexplicably 'discovered' ballots.

Sincere question -- is it only these couple of counties that have the questionable ballot totals? One of the articles left the impression that this kind of thing is a routine occurrence, and I don't recall any statement specifically saying that the other counties were demonstrably cleaner.

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