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February 01, 2005

Comments

As I've so often heard over the last 4 years:

GET OVER IT.

As much as you get on my nerves, you sure can get me to laugh at things my mother told me not to.

Oh, by the way...freedom is on the march in Syria!!!

Elections in Syria?

I started to tear up...I couldn't read the whole thing...those brave Syrians...God Bless them.

"...who came out on the short end in a tussle with an Israeli bulldozer."

Jesus. He jests at scars while rarely leaving his bedroom, and then only if dinner is ready but not if Mom made that weird casserole with the potato chips.

(With apologies to W.S.)

Sounds logical, but I'm not sure I want agencies making decisions like that from the local news. I've never handled an estate. Shouldn't some attempt be made to do that at that time. I guess the real answer is a state of the art, accurate, up-to-date cross referencing program initiate when someone is issued a death certificate or convicted as a felon or moves out of the country to escape political oppression - that kind of thing.

Bird: the young woman--who came out on the short end in a tussle with an Israeli bulldozer

Never fails to astonish me how crass some right-wingers can get when confronted with the proof that there are heroes among those who disagree with them. Tacitus liked to mock Rachel Corrie and her bereaved family, too, as I recall.

Moving on, Bird, AFAIK still being on the voting rolls after you die (assuming that this is the same Rachel Corrie who was killed by the IDF for trying to protect Palestinian homes) is not a crime: it only becomes a problem when someone else uses the dead voter's name to vote. Until you can prove that happened, it seems that you simply used the opportunity of a minor bureaucratic snafu to mock a young woman for having been killed for a cause you do not support: with the added richness of a Republican complaining about voter fraud.

Is it really up to minor bureaucrats to skim the obits and take names off the voter rolls? Doesn't that seem like, you know, a bad idea?

"Not that this has anything directly to do with the funny business in Washington State governor's race..."

So, Chas., what exactly, then IS the point of your post - other than to use Rachel Corrie, à la Tacitus, as a straw-person example to flog your predictable, manufactured outrage over your party's candidate's loss in a close-election recount?
Each and every one of the voter "irregularities" you cite, or something close to them was present in the Florida Presidential race in 2000, and yet, for four years, anyone who who dared to question the outcome of THAT election was hooted down by the likes of you (politically speaking, NO personal reference intended!) - all over the media, and sneered at as "sore loser", "obsessive", "victim of Bush Derangement Syndrome", etc., etc. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, and it is a Republican who has ended up on the short end of the vote, forgive us if we take your spasms of indignation over the "injustice" of it all with a grain of salt.

Tacitus liked to mock Rachel Corrie and her bereaved family, too, as I recall.

one of the many reasons i stopped reading that site... but, i'm not sure BD is doing it here.

Just took a look at current Washington State law. Some relevant items - for routine list maintenance (Ch. 29A.08.605) the county auditors can rely on either Postal Service change-of-address info or returned mail processing by the Postal Service. The section that deals with deaths is 29A.08.510, which states:

... [D]eceased voters will be canceled from voter registration lists as follows:

(1) Every month, the registrar of vital statistics of the state shall prepare a separate list of persons who resided in each county, for whom a death certificate was transmitted to the registrar and was not included on a previous list, and shall supply the appropriate list to each county auditor.

A county auditor shall compare this list with the registration records and cancel the registrations of deceased voters within at least forty-five days before the next primary or election held in the county after the auditor receives the list.

(2) In addition, the county auditor may also use newspaper obituary articles as a source of information in order to cancel a voter's registration. The auditor must verify the identity of the voter by matching the voter's date of birth or an address. The auditor shall record the date and source of the obituary in the cancellation records.

(3) In addition, any registered voter may sign a statement, subject to the penalties of perjury, to the effect that to his or her personal knowledge or belief another registered voter is deceased. This statement may be filed with the county auditor. Upon the receipt of such signed statement, the county auditor shall cancel the registration records concerned and so notify the secretary of state.

Note that method (1) is the only activity that is required, method (2) is allowed but not mandated and method (3) permits third party requests to be acted upon.

So, in the case of Rachel Corrie, routine maintenance probably wouldn't have removed her from the rolls since it is unlikely that a change-of-adress was filed and mail to her may or may not be being returned by the Postal Service. The provisions for deceased voters could also legtimately fail. Since she died on foreign soil, the registrar of vital statistics may have never received a death certificate. Since method (2) requires that the date and source of the obit be recorded with the cancellation, I would imagine that most auditors don't bother with it. Everything is perfectly legal, so as Hal said above, get over it.

Cleek: but, i'm not sure BD is doing it here.

What makes you think that?

Anyway. on a more serious note (now that the snark is satisfactorily out of the way): rather than just bitching about election results you don't like, do you, Charles, have any concrete suggestions about how elections in this country can be made more "irregularity-proof"? It seems rather strange to me that in the USA in 2005, all the resources of technical expertise available in this nation cannot come up with some sort of voting system that
1. Allows the maximum enfranchisement of eligible citizens.
2. Places as few barriers in the way of registration and balloting as is practicable.
3. Enables speedy, efficient and confidential voting.
4. Enables speedy, efficient, confidential and verfiable counting of votes.
5. Contains a maximally reliable system for recounting or re-verifying votes in closely-contested contests.

DISCLAIMER: To be honest, I am not an expert in these matters, and have, at the moment, no specific suggestions re the above list: but it will, IMO, do as a starting point for discussion - unless you think it's more productive just fulminating that [Republicans/Democrats] are just [crooks/cheats/sore losers] or whatever.


There are always errors. These seem much smaller than the ones in Florida--and yet we never even ASKED for a re-vote, just a manual recount, and even that was denied. So I'm not real sympathetic as far as the court challenge.

As far as eliminating these errors in the future, here's what I would suggest:
--provide for felons' voting rights to be restored automatically when they leave prison.
--eliminate voter registration.
--but require voters to show ID & proof of address.
--have poll workers record the name, address and date of birth of voters.
--also have poll workers record the name, address, and date of birth of everyone they turn away, and the reason they were not given a ballot.
--enter that information into a centralized state computer after the election. Cross reference it to ensure that no dead people voted, no non-residents voted, that no one voted twice, and that no one was turned away improperly.
--make computer records available to the parties for inspection after the election.
--ensure that voting resources--poll workers, booths, ballots, etc.--are distributed evenly throughout the state in proportion to population; and are sufficient so that the average waiting time is under 20 minutes & the peak waiting time is under 90 minutes.
--provide a small financial incentive for voting: a tax credit set at the hourly rate used to compensate jurors x 2 hours (or whatever the average amount of time is to vote, door to door.)
--set up a toll free number to call for people to learn their polling place & the ID requirements. 1-800-(two letter state abbreviation) VOTES, or something.
--make election day a national holiday OR provide at least one day of early voting on the weekend where the number of polling places, volunteers etc. is as much as election day OR figure out a way to allow people to vote near their office instead of their home.
--all electronic voting equipment should provide some way for voters to ensure that their vote was recorded correctly & counted. I don't just mean the computers, I think you should also get a chance with an Op-scan ballot or punch card to see if the machine can read it.
--decide in advance, by statute, what level of error, if any, will be enough to trigger a re-vote.

I don't know exactly how this would work with absentee ballots or vote by mail, because I haven't voted absentee in 7 years and I forget how it works.

I'm sure there are plenty of flaws, this is just what I came up with off the top of my head. But it seems to me that if they can run a reasonably good election in Iraq in those circumstances, and if voters in Ukraine can demand fair vote counting, we can do a lot better here too. I'm happy to dye my finger purple if it will help.

I really don't think we want to get into this again.

Just a note about the phrase "...the young woman--who came out on the short end in a tussle with an Israeli bulldozer..."

Personally, I find that statement revolting.

About a year or so ago, two American missionaries in Iraq were murdered. I suspect that if someone wrote of them and used the same cavalier tone, I think some on the other side of the political aisle would be offended.

What makes you think that?

the lack of obvious mockery. "came out on the short end" is a bit flippant; but it isn't on the same level as the venomous sneering mockery we usually see when Corrie appears in some righty's post. so, i choose to give BD the benefit of the doubt.

Corrie is, unfortunately, a person of note; so seeing her name still on the voter rolls is noteworthy, and it does illustrate the larger point of his post.

The funny thing about election irregularities is that they are only championed by election losers.

Having read, through my fingers, similar exchanges on the Corrie story, I must second praktike's comment: I really don't think we want to get into this again.

She's a victim to some, a hero to others, a misguided fool, or a traitor to others...but she's no longer with us...and she wasn't a world leader worthy of continued appraisal regardless. Can we let her rest in peace? Please.

Nice ideas, Katherine. Might be worthy of a separate thread.

stop whining like a little puppy.

And just how much effort are you putting into blogging about voting reform? It's fine and dandy if you want to point out crap like this all day long but why don't you jump on the voting reform bandwagon that's been going since 2000.

Of course you only care because now it affects your side. You are, simply put, a hypocrite.

Bill, knock it off. There are more constructive ways of making the same point.

Following up on what I posted above (and trying to focus on the ball) it looks to me like most of the laws on the books in Washington should work well under conditions where the margin of victory is not so razor thin. Some small changes might help clean up the voter rolls significantly, but at a price. For example, the statute covering routine maintenance could require use of both change-of-address data and a direct mailing, rather than the current either-or situation. However, this change would impose addtional costs on a process that seems rather underfunded to begin with. Would WA residents support a tax increase to cover the costs of stricter registration rules and increased enforcement?

Obviously non-citizens shouldn't be allowed to vote either & that should be checked too--but I think expecting everyone to bring their passport or birth certificate on election day is going to deter more legitimate votes than illegitimate votes, so I'd suggest checking after the fact. In case I wasn't clear: the state should try to determine the number of votes wrongfully cast and voters wrongfully turned away, but also give the parties access to the information free of charge to find errors the state may have missed.

Charles, by way of comparison, in Florida in 2000 there were approximately 445 illegal votes by felons. And this in a state that clearly erred on the side of disenfranchising people, and mistakenly scrubbed thousands of non-felons from the voter rolls that same year.

"who came out on the short end in a tussle with an Israeli bulldozer-"

For both of our sakes, I will never read another of your posts again.

Bill: "stop whining like a little puppy." This is uncivil, and violates the posting rules. Stop it.

"You are, simply put, a hypocrite." -- I have no idea what Charles does when he's not blogging. For all I know he may spend hours working selflessly for voting law reform. I say this when conservatives go on about how the liberals on this blog never said a word about Saddam's excesses -- how on earth do they know? -- and it's wrong whichever side does it.

And just to be evenhanded in my objections: Charles, how would you feel if someone described Nicholas Berg as having come out on the short end in a tussle with an Iraqi knife?

To clarify. I didn't intend to mock Rachel Corrie, but I do plead guilty to an inartful turning of the phrase. Her death was a tragic waste. She was foolish for protesting too close to a bulldozer during a military operation, and the driver was foolish for not knowing where she was. Like it or not, she is now an historical figure, and I see nothing wrong with bringing up her name.

As for some remarks about Florida and Washington State, the Gore campaign went through its legal remedies and it did not prevail. The Rossi campaign is working through its legal remedies and I believe they have a fair case. Time will tell. Even so, Gregoire is my governor until she is voted otherwise, either by revote or by the 2008 election. If Rossi does not prevail in court, I will accept the result, move on and support him in the upcoming US Senate race against Cantwell (wishful thinking, I know).

Chalres Bird: My sincere apologies go out to you. I am not heeding my "trembling fingers" rule here and I apologise. I know better, I can do better, and will certainly try harder in the future. My apologies also go out to anyone who read my post. I am sorry for degrading this thread.

Often times your posts raise my hackles quite high, but I give you credit for being tireless in your blogging and for keeping tacitus going for as long as you did. I also admire your passion for your views.

Charles, how would you feel if someone described Nicholas Berg as having come out on the short end in a tussle with an Iraqi knife?

No, because he did.

Like it or not, she is now an historical figure, and I see nothing wrong with bringing up her name.

Neither do I, nor do I object to some people's negative opinions of her and her actions (although I disagree). I think what was at issue was the "inartful turning of the phrase", as you put it. I'm glad you clarified your intent, thank you.

Ditto me in on the more polite ways of expressing utter revulsion at that particular phrase in the post, please.

Re: "What you will find is that the young woman--who came out on the short end in a tussle with an Israeli bulldozer--is still a registered voter." And "To clarify. I didn't intend to mock Rachel Corrie."

Than what did you intend to do?

If I want to read Little Green Footballs-quality work, I'll serf to Little Green Footballs.

This is Obsidian Wings. It has a reputation. Its reputation is based on having authors who don't write things like "the young woman--who came out on the short end in a tussle with an Israeli bulldozer."

Quality control, people. Quality control.

Some good ideas from Jay C., Katherine, and others. As far as availability of machines etc., it is a disgrace that some voters face extremely long delays. The calculations needed to predict peak and average waiting times are well-known, and the same basic problem arises in a huge variety of contexts, so allocating equipment to meet sensible standards should be an easy task.

As for ineligible voters, it seems difficult to deal with the problem in a way that does not compromise confidentiality. If we let a questionable voter cast a provisional ballot we have to identify the specific ballot, so we know whether to count it or not once the question is decided. Better to do it ahead of time. Published lists help, but only if widely disseminated and checked, and if the appeals procedure is not too burdensome. At my polling place they simply post the list on an outdoor bulletin board. How many people check, do you think?

One stringent requirement should be uniformity of methods. Whatever we do there will be errors. It is fundamental that we should try to make the errors unbiased, and this best achieved by seeing to it that identical procedures are followed everywhere.

I think the problem of ineligible voters is a fairly serious one. Letting someone vote who ought not is precisely the equivalent of shredding the vote of a person who votes in a way that is opposite from that of the ineligible voter.

I honestly don't understand why in a world where I can use my debit card in France and have my California bank change the checking balance within seconds, we can't have a system that would only let one person vote one place during each election.

SH: because not everyone has a bank account and/or driver's license.

the right to vote should not be limited to those who live in the mainstream of society.

Any system that extends the right to vote to homeless / nontraditional lifestyles will need extra protection to prevent against the graveyard vote. that's a price i'm willing to pay, though.

Francis

To address only the substance of Charles' post, it is largely irrelevant that a dead person is still on the voting rolls. This occurs everywhere all the time because there is no effective mechanism in place for insuring that only dead persons are regularly purged from the voting rolls. This is also true for people who move -- I don't think the rolls are cross-indexed between all of the precincts, and then striking out duplications (which can be a problem for common names).

I think some states drop registered voters after a number of elections without voting -- I have no idea what Washington's policy is on this. This is an effective method for ultimately clearing up the rolls that will not penalize or unduly burden people who are regular active voters.

There are obviously ways to prevent this, but all involve additional burden and expense (more bureaucracy or requiring frequent re-registration). Are you advocating for such reforms?

Or are you just being snarky about the election process, as alleged justification for attacking the outcome? Say it isn't so.

So, how easy is it on blogs.com to set up functionality so that one doesn't even /see/ posts from a given author that simply aren't worth reading and only push other, worthwhile posts off the page?

The funny thing about election irregularities is that they are only championed by election losers.

How true. Can we talk about Ohio now?

Or are you just being snarky about the election process, as alleged justification for attacking the outcome?

Like I wrote above, Gregoire is my governor. Maybe I'm just naive, but if there's one place that should be held to the highest levels of accuracy and integrity, it's our voter rolls.

Like I wrote above, Gregoire is my governor. Maybe I'm just naive, but if there's one place that should be held to the highest levels of accuracy and integrity, it's our voter rolls.

Not naive, just inconsistent. Which isn't, per se a bad thing, if that inconsistency is the end result of transforming an opinion or worldview from one that is fundamentally wrong into a better one. If your sudden focus on voting reform were an honest one, I'd welcome it, because I think it's one subject on which Republicans and Democrats /should/ be able to speak as one voice.

I just don't think it's honest. I base that not on any personal animus towards you, but on your track record, which I think speaks for itself. Before this election dispute, your attitude towards anyone who brought up voting irregularities or the need for reform was /uniformly/ dismissive. If the old Tacitus.org archives were still up, I would link to specific examples from your posting record to prove this; as it is, I must rely on distinct memories of "get over it" style responses to the subject at hand.

I /do/ think that you believe the voting process in WA needs to be fixed, but I think this is highly opportunistic on your part--especially since it only started when Rossi lost the recount, and you and yours started digging for any shred of evidence you could use to undermine Gregoire's win and bolster a court case. Particularly since you are /still/ dismissive of any evidence of voter fraud in Florida, Ohio, or anywhere else where a Republican won. You are not applying the same standards of skepticism to Democratic allegations as you are to your own.

This is, in essence, why you are not being taken seriously on a subject which demands serious discussion.

These seem much smaller than the ones in Florida--and yet we never even ASKED for a re-vote, just a manual recount, and even that was denied.

Statute provisions for a re-vote in Florida are where, exactly? I've read a great deal of Florida statute pertaining to elections, and I don't ever recall seeing a provision for balloting all over again on any scale. It's quite possible that it's there and I missed it or forgot it.

"Any system that extends the right to vote to homeless / nontraditional lifestyles will need extra protection to prevent against the graveyard vote. that's a price i'm willing to pay, though."

Sure, but we don't.

Sure, but we don't.

We don't what, specifically? Extend the right to homeless / nontraditional lifestyles? Muster the extra protection? Or pay the price?

"...to set up functionality so that one doesn't even /see/ posts from a given author...."

Blog thread killfiles... the Holy Grail of blog comment reading. We wants it, my precioussss!

If the old Tacitus.org archives were still up, I would link to specific examples from your posting record to prove this; as it is, I must rely on distinct memories of "get over it" style responses to the subject at hand.

I probably did advise liberals to "get over it" in regards to Florida, but that's because it was indeed over. The USSC closed the legal avenues. I don't recall writing specifically about electoral reform in Florida, but I'm generally in favor of any proposal that would improve accuracy and integrity. Legal recourse remains for the Rossi campaign. Once the legal issue is settled, I will gladly get over it, no matter the outcome.

I /do/ think that you believe the voting process in WA needs to be fixed, but I think this is highly opportunistic on your part--especially since it only started when Rossi lost the recount, and you and yours started digging for any shred of evidence you could use to undermine Gregoire's win and bolster a court case.

I can't speak for others, but for me your statement is patently false. I didn't call for revote until the evidence was clear that the number of illegal votes exceeded the margin of victory, as noted here. Prior to that, I was recommending that Rossi concede.

and yet we never even ASKED

Oh, almost forgot: who's "we" in this example?

We don't pay the price to ensure that only valid voters can vote. In many states it is pretty much a free for all.

"Statute provisions for a re-vote in Florida are where, exactly?"

There are no statutory provisions for revote in Washington either. That is not stopping the Republicans from trying to get a judge to order it. There they go again, trying to get activist judges to legislate from the bench.

Technologically the voting system could certainly be improved without huge expense. It is a political problem. Conventional wisdom is (was?) that greater voter turnout it good for Ds - therefore, anything that makes voting easier is suspect by Rs.

I can't speak for others, but for me your statement is patently false. I didn't call for revote until the evidence was clear that the number of illegal votes exceeded the margin of victory, as noted here. Prior to that, I was recommending that Rossi concede.

My statement is not patently false, because if you'll re-read what I actually wrote, you'll see that I didn't say anything about your calls for a revote, I was specifically addressing your very demonstrably sudden interest in voting reform. This manifested itself /solely/ once the election turned against Rossi.

I also find very interesting the general difference in focus between the GOP and the Democratic Party when it comes to voting reform: the GOP has focused almost entirely on allegations of illegal or invalid votes, and placed a higher priority on ensuring that /only/ valid votes are counted than on ensuring that /every/ valid vote is counted. This is an important distinction, however similar they might sound.

The Democratic calls for reform have, by contrast, been concerned with combating attempts to disenfranchise and intimidate legal voters, with a higher priority placed on ensuring that everyone votes who is entitled to.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion, based on both rhetoric and the parts of voter reform on which they've been focusing, that the Democratic Party is far more concerned with protecting the /rights/ of voters, even if this means that some people slip through the cracks who shouldn't--whereas the GOP is more concerned with shutting the door on invalid votes, even if this means that some people who should be able to vote get lost in the shuffle. Personally, I find the Democratic focus far more compatible with the spirit and intent of "innocent until proven guilty", to name just one of the principles that are fundamental to this country.

Well some good seems to be coming out of all this. And for the record I think it is naive to think that a race this close could be accurately counted and without any significant irregularities. Of course, a few years ago I probably was that naive too.

I just wanted to register my disgust. de mortius nil nisi bonum

I have to suggest that this tactic of lobbing a grenade into a post, which I can only understand as a way of getting those that disagree with you to lose their cool and overreach, really has no place here.

I was specifically addressing your very demonstrably sudden interest in voting reform.

And I still take issue with your characterization.

whereas the GOP is more concerned with shutting the door on invalid votes

This is not true when it came to military ballots, particularly in Florida.

Personally, I find the Democratic focus far more compatible with the spirit and intent of "innocent until proven guilty", to name just one of the principles that are fundamental to this country.

Innocent or guilt has nothing to do with it. The pertinent issue is the established rule of law. Votes by felons are illegal under state law. Provisional ballots are invalid until verified by election officials, also under state law. A trial to determine the innocence or guilt of a ballot is an inapt analogy, since the rules are already in place. The whole point of having a vote is get a snapshot of the will of the people as of a certain point in time. With the illegal ballots and discrepancies between the numbers of voters and ballots, the will of the people is unknowable. If there is an opportunity to remedy this, it should be taken. Given that there is no way to extract illegal ballots from the totals, the best remedy is a do-over.

I have to suggest that this tactic of lobbing a grenade into a post, which I can only understand as a way of getting those that disagree with you to lose their cool and overreach

You're under the misapprehension that I intended to lob grenades. Like I wrote above, I plead guilty to inartful prose. Sometimes I veer into the realm of bluntness and indelicacy which, believe it or not, happens much less now.

Bird Dog: To clarify. I didn't intend to mock Rachel Corrie, but I do plead guilty to an inartful turning of the phrase.

Very good. Since you didn't intend to mock Rachel Corrie, the edit button is at your service either to remove the repellent phrase, or - as you prefer - to insert an apology for the apparent mockery.

Or, of course, you actually did intend to lob the grenade, knew the effect it would have, and intend to keep it going as long as possible by not editing/apologizing.

"You're under the misapprehension that I intended to lob grenades. Like I wrote above, I plead guilty to inartful prose."

This is meant purely as an attempt at a helpful suggestion: the difference between a post and a comment is large. Apologies and/or corrections for something said in a comment are appropriately made in a follow-up comment. However, when one wishes to correct, clarify, or apologize for any aspect of a most, most readers won't see such a thing if it is made only in a comment, rather than in an addition to the post itself.

This is the same principle by which newspapers should print corrections of a story along side the story on a web page, or prominently in the physical newspaper, rather than leaving a small correction in some obscure location that will be unseen by most readers.

Again: this is only a suggestion; I am in no way trying to tell anyone how they should blog.

Thanks Gary. A helpful suggestion.

And I still take issue with your characterization.

Take issue all you want; you have yet to demostrate that it's inaccurate. Nobody saw Word One from you--unless that word was to blithely dismiss concerns by Democrats--on the issue of voting reform until suddenly a Republican stood to gain by it. Since then you've been all over the subject, at least when it comes to those aspects of it that interest the Rossi campaign.

I find it particularly revealing that any post of yours which is purportedly about voting reform is littered with cites and links from strictly conservative sources, the main thrust and tone of which are not to advocate for broad reform, but rather to highlight only those irregularities which they can frame as undermining Gregoire's legitimacy.

This is not true when it came to military ballots, particularly in Florida.

Which is the /only/ demographic over which the GOP has made a fuss when it comes to protecting the right to vote--a demographic notable for tilting Republican. Would that the GOP would show equal interest in protecting the votes of, say, minorities and reformed felons.

Innocent or guilt has nothing to do with it. The pertinent issue is the established rule of law. Votes by felons are illegal under state law.

First of all, the last is simply untrue--votes by felons are /not/ illegal under state law, if those felons have had their voting rights restored. In WA State, this (loosely speaking) occurs automatically when a felon is issued a certificate of discharge and has no further obligation (parole, community service, financial debts, etc) to the State. You and the other people making a stink about felons voting would do well to read the relevant laws.

Second of all, your response entirely misses the point, to say nothing of the spirit of "innocent until proven guilty". We decided long ago, as a country, that a fundamental guiding principle for our laws is that it is better to err on the side of caution and allow some of the guilty to go free, if in the process of punishing them the innocent should suffer. This is /directly/ analogous to the notion that when counting votes, the emphasis should be on ensuring that everyone who is entited to vote has theirs counted, even if that means some invalid ones are counted as well, than to "throw the baby out with the bath water" and be so strict that valid votes are lost with the invalid.

Which brings me back to the GOP's emphasis on cracking down on invalid votes, when contrasted with Democratic emphasis on protecting rights. To me, it's simply a no-brainer which approach is more compatible with American ideals.

I also note that the entirety of your response dwells not on the broader issues of voting reform and voting rights, but on questioning the legitimacy of the vote in Washington. It reinforces the impression that you are concerned not with reforming the integrity of the process or protecting the rights of voters, but simply with undermining and reversing an election in which you lost.

Bird: To clarify. I didn't intend to mock Rachel Corrie, but I do plead guilty to an inartful turning of the phrase. Her death was a tragic waste.

Appreciate your update. I apologize for the snark at 06:38 PM.

Chas
Thanks for the update. As for my comment on grenade lobbing, my apologies for that inartful turn of phrase.

Take issue all you want; you have yet to demostrate that it's inaccurate.

You made the charge. The burden is on you. I've never written a specific post on abortion. Does that mean my credibility is suspect because you haven't heard "Word One" from me? Nonsense.

I find it particularly revealing that any post of yours which is purportedly about voting reform is littered with cites and links from strictly conservative sources, the main thrust and tone of which are not to advocate for broad reform, but rather to highlight only those irregularities which they can frame as undermining Gregoire's legitimacy.

Ad hominem. Whether the sources are conservative or not, the question is still whether the evidence holds water. The number of questionable ballots and practices are themselves a call for reform. Back when I was urging Rossi to concede, reform was exactly what I was proposing.

First of all, the last is simply untrue--votes by felons are /not/ illegal under state law, if those felons have had their voting rights restored.

We're talking past each other. The 186 in King County were confirmed illegal. So were the 52 in Pierce County.

Second of all, your response entirely misses the point, to say nothing of the spirit of "innocent until proven guilty".

Dubious. It's very simple. Clear-cut rules are in effect to determine the validity of ballots. They are clear-cut for a reason. Electoral integrity should demand it. Provisional ballots were already under the "err on the side of caution" moniker. They are presumed to be invalid until verified by election officials.

I also note that the entirety of your response dwells not on the broader issues of voting reform and voting rights, but on questioning the legitimacy of the vote in Washington.

Voting reform and voting rights were not front burner issues here, and you should know that. Get out the vote efforts were record breaking in 2004.

"To me, it's simply a no-brainer which approach is more compatible with American ideals."

At risk of being a tad cynical -- or perhaps simply pragmatic and momentarily amoral -- it's perhaps worth emphasizing that setting aside for a moment the merits of either side's moral argument and position, both parties' position just happens -- purely by coincidence, I'm sure! -- to be the position that helps each side's political base.

I'm just sayin', because I get a bit itchy when I see a lot of high-minded justifications and explanations being tossed back and forth on an issue, with no acknowledgement of a low-minded quite relevant factor.

We're talking past each other. The 186 in King County were confirmed illegal. So were the 52 in Pierce County.

but, per our previous discussion of this, it has to be shown that those illegal votes were directed to one candidate or another. You can imply that felons vote for Democrats, but you can't prove it.

As Bernard perceptively notes
As for ineligible voters, it seems difficult to deal with the problem in a way that does not compromise confidentiality.

I would assume that the confidentiality of one's vote is a right as equally sancrosanct, if not more so. I also sense that you are willing to take retroactive measures to disenfranchise people. I hope you can see that this is a can o' worms.

This link details the story, as well as the difficulties in linking up felons with voting rolls, along with these anecdotes

William L. Nause completed his probation for felony possession of marijuana, attended alcohol and drug classes and paid $1,900 in court costs, so he should be eligible to vote. However, Nause never received a "certificate of discharge," the document needed to restore the right to vote.

"My probation officer said my right to vote had been restored," said Nause. It hadn't, yet Nause was allowed — inadvertently — to re-register in 2003. He voted in November for Rossi.

and

Shahn Divorne, a felon who voted illegally, said, "Most of your felons are so uneducated they don't know what their rights are, they just worry about reporting to a probation officer."

Divorne, the owner of Ear-Tec Hearing Aid Specialists, served 2-1/2 years in prison for defrauding the state's Department of Labor and Industries. But he said his judgment and sentencing information didn't state he had lost his right to vote.

Divorne still owes $132,000 in restitution, but he voted for Rossi by absentee ballot. His vote was recorded because officials had never purged him from their rolls.

My understanding is that Republicans are counting votes that _should have been illegal_ rather than votes that are illegal. This is an important distinction and it would do you well to reflect on it.

Gary Farber: both parties' position just happens -- purely by coincidence, I'm sure! -- to be the position that helps each side's political base.

True, and I'm sure it's not at all coincidental - neither for the Democratic party nor for the Republican party. The Democratic party benefits when ethnic minorities vote: the Republican party benefits when they don't. (The idea that the Democratic party benefits from a high turnout and the Republican party benefits from a low turnout may have taken a blow with the last election, but it was electoral "common knowledge", I believe.) The Democratic party's strategy is to get as many people registered to vote as possible: the Republican party's strategy is to challenge as many votes as possible.

It depends which set of American ideals you're looking at: the ideals of the Founding Fathers, who regarded neither black people nor any woman as quite fully human/deserving of citizenship, and were very suspicious of the idea that common people voting should get to control who's in government: or the ideals that people have claimed for America in later centuries, that Catsy is thinking of (I think - I hope he'll forgive me the presumption).

I have to admit, I respond rather more positively to the more modern ideals - but then I would, wouldn't I? The ideals of the Founding Fathers would exclude people like me: the ideals of (let's say) Martin Luther King offer, to me, a far more admirable view of what it means to be an American.

but, per our previous discussion of this, it has to be shown that those illegal votes were directed to one candidate or another. You can imply that felons vote for Democrats, but you can't prove it.

According to state law, the felon votes just have to be shown to be illegally cast in order for an election contest to hold water. No implication was made by me that felons voted for a Democrat, and it doesn't have to be proven even if I did make such as implication. The point is that a number of illegal votes have been made which exceed the margin of victory. This is a real and legitimate taint on the electoral results.

I also sense that you are willing to take retroactive measures to disenfranchise people.

I reject your assertion. Felons who have not gotten their voting rights restored had already disenfranchised themselves.

My understanding is that Republicans are counting votes that _should have been illegal_ rather than votes that are illegal.

You understand incorrectly. Lists of felons whose rights were not restored were checked against the rolls of those who actually voted. So far, 186 illegal felon votes in King County and 52 in Pierce County have been confirmed. And that's just two counties. This is simply a fact.

"My understanding is that Republicans are counting votes that _should have been illegal_ rather than votes that are illegal."

I don't understand the distinction unless you are under the mistaken impression that Republicans are counting all felons who do not have the right to vote in those totals whether they voted or not. Those totals only show the number of felons who both were ineligible to vote and voted anyway.

First of all, given the Seattle Times article, it appears that the Republican's have matched up people on the voter rolls with people on the felon list. Recall that when similar names appeared on the felon list in Florida, voters with no criminal record were disenfranchised. Given previous republican due diligence when challenging voters, I wouldn't be so certain. Of course, you are there, but the fact that you seize on Rachel Corrie's appearance on the voter rolls (I think you can agree that this has nothing to do with the case, and the rules for deleting someone from the voter rolls, given in JerryN's post, fall into a grey area) speaks volumes.

As far as 'should have been illegal', as the cite I gave suggests, it seems that there were no clear restrictions given to those felons about their voting rights. It is as if you go into a store, find a $60 item that marked at $30 dollars, you buy it, and after taking it home, you are accused of stealing, because the store made a mistake and you didn't pay the $30 that 'you should have known' you needed to pay.

I also think that the law is not as clear cut as you suggest it is, and you would promote a little more balanced dialogue if you would cite a link like this. Just saying...

a) where was the concern about the purity of the lists when Republicans thought they were winning? There was none; there was only concern with disparaging the progressively more accurate recounts that are permitted under state law.

b) Is someone proposing that county election departments should spend *more money* to actively monitor whether registered voters are living or dead? You do remember that there is no free lunch?

b-i) in responding to point (b) recall that the 'Sound Politics Voter Database' shows that nobody cast a vote for Rachel Corrie.

I think if you want to contest an election you need to come up with actual fraud. You'll have better luck looking in Ohio, though I have to admit it won't help your case here.


You'll have better luck looking in Ohio, though I have to admit it won't help your case here.

The Ohio lawsuit died because there wasn't sufficient evidence. The WA State case is different. Evidence abounds.

I also think that the law is not as clear cut as you suggest it is, and you would promote a little more balanced dialogue if you would cite a link like this.

A better link is this, which has a much more complete package of RCWs and excerpts from the original source.

The relevant cites that support the plaintiffs' case are:

RCW 29A.68.020
Commencement by registered voter – Causes for.

Any registered voter may contest the right of any person declared elected to an office to be issued a certificate of election for any of the following causes:
...
(5) On account of illegal votes.
(a) Illegal votes include but are not limited to the following:
(i) More than one vote cast by a single voter;
(ii) A vote cast by a person disqualified under Article VI, section 3 of the state Constitution. [That is, felons]
(b) Illegal votes do not include votes cast by improperly registered voters who were not properly challenged under RCW 29A.08.810 and 29A.08.820.

The cites for misconduct are also relevant because King County officials inserted 348 unverified provisional ballots into the mix. The inability of officials to reconcile the number of ballots to the number of voters also pertains to misconduct. Tim Goddard went through in detail each of the relevant points and how they relate to state law. Felons must apply to have to their voting rights restored, so it's fairly simple to determine whether these votes were legal or not. For those felons who voted non-absentee, there's no way of knowing who voted for whom, but given the high number of those who voted, the electoral results must be considered tainted.

Forgive my lack of "balance", it's just that the case looks very clear-cut to me.

Ack! Begone italics!

Thanks for the links (but not the italics) While I don't expect you to write a post like the timothygoddard one, linking to it would promote a more reasoned discussion, don't you think? (especially since it is dated 12 Jan and your post is 2 Feb)

I'm still suspicious of the fact that soundpolitics 'found' the felons. As your link notes, these have to be produced in court, and simply finding names on the voter rolls that match the felon roll makes it seem a little premature to claim that illegal votes have been 'found'. I appreciate that you feel it is clear-cut, but I would more sympathetically read your posts if I felt they presented more information. TTFWIW.

I'm still suspicious of the fact that soundpolitics 'found' the felons.

First off, I just refound Goddard's thing yesterday. We kind of segued into the legality of the revote issues. If the central theme of my post was to make the legal case for a revote, I would have included it.

Soundpolitics didn't "find" the felons, the BIAW did. They ordered the felons list from several Puget Sound counties back in early December. They received the data first from Pierce County, where they found 52 illegal voters, then it flowed from there. This will all be re-confirmed again, but there is no reason to dispute their validity. The newspapers have been playing catch-up but, so far, they haven't punched holes in voter-ballot discrepancies or provisional ballots or felon votes.

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