MartiniPundit

Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

John Fund on the Washington Election

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In today’s Opinion Journal:

In Washington state, the errors by election officials have been compared to the antics of Inspector Clouseau, only clumsier. At least 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle’s King County than the number of individual voters who can be accounted for. Other counties saw similar, albeit smaller, excess vote totals. More than 300 military personnel who were sent their absentee ballots too late to return them have signed affidavits saying they intended to vote for Mr. Rossi. Some 1 out of 20 ballots in King County that officials felt were marked unclearly were “enhanced” with Wite-Out or pens so that some had their original markings obliterated. Most disturbing is the revelation last week by King County officials that at least 348 unverified provisional ballots were fed directly into vote-counting machines.

“Did it happen? Yes. Unfortunately, that’s part of the process in King County,” elections superintendent Bill Huennekens told the Seattle Times. “It’s a very human process, and in some cases that did happen.”

King County elections director Dean Logan, Mr. Huennekens’ boss, also concedes the discrepancy between the number of ballots cast and the list of people who are recorded as voting. Even though the gap is 1,200 votes, he says, “that does not clearly indicate that the election would have turned out differently.” Are voters supposed to trust an election merely because it can’t “clearly” be shown to be hopelessly tainted? Mr. Logan is certainly singing a different tune now than he was on Nov. 18, when he responded to charges of voting irregularities in an e-mail to colleagues, which read in part:

“Unfortunately, I have come to expect this kind of unsubstantiated crap. It’s all too convenient, if not now fashionable, to stoop to this level when there is a close race.”

Slade Gorton, a Republican former state attorney general and U.S. senator who is advising Mr. Rossi, says a court should order a revote rather than declare valid one of the two earlier vote counts that Mr. Rossi won.

“No one can govern effectively under the cloud this race has created,” Mr. Gorton says. He notes that state law doesn’t require any showing of fraud to contest an election.

“That is irrelevant to whether the election should be done over,” he says. “The law is quite clear in giving a court the right to void any election where the number of illegal or mistaken votes exceeds the margin of victory, and it has done so in the past.”

This one ain’t over. A must read.

Written by martinipundit

January 10, 2005 at 3:10 pm

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