Over at Sound Politics, Stefan Sharkansky and Brian Crouch have been extremely busy unearthing dozens of examples of fraud in the Washington gubernatorial election, and Jim Miller has been busy explaining his theories on "distributed fraud" in elections, and what effect it might have played here in Washington state. The comment threads are quite active, and have drawn quite an eclectic mix of people. Most of the commenters support Rossi, but there are a few trolls, and a few relatively sane dissenters. One of the sane ones, Daniel K, runs a blog of his own. In this post, he argues that Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate, is wrong to call for a new election. Fair enough; everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, he is a bit off-base in some of his justifications he uses to bolster his case.
Rossi continues to equate this to a best-of-three type election, where he won twice and Gregoire won once. That isn't how it works. Gregoire won the final tally, the only one that matters in determining the outcome. This is vintage Republican poli-speak, the type they successfully used all throughout the presidential campaign.
Hmmm, even though the first count had a bigger lead for Rossi than the final count for Gregoire, the Dems maintained that it was a tie. If it's a tie when Rossi leads, why is it not a tie when Gregoire leads? Further, this doesn't address the heart of the matter, which is the validity of the votes themselves.
"Throughout the entire process, King County Elections staff changed the rules about which ballots would count and, at the end, the Supreme Court also changed the rules. As it now stands, some people in King County had the rules changed so their votes could count, while other wrongfully disenfranchised people across the stateincluding many members of our militaryhave been denied the opportunity to have their votes counted."
Misleading again. The election boards followed the rules. At no time did the Republican Secretary of State, Sam Reed, take the election boards to task for not doing so. When Democrats tried to expand the vote counting, against the rules, they were shot down by the courts. When Republicans tried to block the King County elections board from counting valid votes, a count that Reed approved, the courts sided with the Secretary of State.
Sam Reed's shortcomings have been discussed at some length at Sound Politics, so I'll not rehash them here. However, the mishandling of the ballots in Washington in 2004 is eerily similar to what happened in Florida in 2000, before the SCotUS stepped in. Ballots that need to be "enhanced" are of dubious validity; ballots that need to be "interpreted" are frankly invalid. Votes that cannot be counted by a machine (in locales where machines are used) should not be counted, period. Allowing them to be counted in a hand recount means that they are receiving unequal protection, in violation of the 14th amendment.
Even this still does not reach to the heart of the issue, which is (again) the validity of the votes. Despite the reports of problems and bias during the recounts, the biggest issue is what appears to be massive fraud in Seattle, and lesser instances elsewhere in the state. Sharkansky has found several instances of multiple voters listing the same address (other than government buildings, which are used as addresses for street dwellers), dead people still on the rolls (at least one eligible voter died in 1998; I wonder if he voted by absentee ballot), people using PO boxes as their address (in violation of the law), genderless voters, variations of the same name at a single address receiving multiple mail ballots Such as John Smith, John Q. Smith, and Johnny Smith), and more. When the ballots themselves are not valid, it doesn't matter who is doing the counting, because the crime has already occurred. Not counting a vote is no more disenfranchising than countering a legally cast vote with one that is not legal; that is the issue. I believe that Rossi will start emphasizing that point in a few days, once firm data are available to prove his point. So far, the King County canvassing board has not been forthcoming with the information, and that appears to be ground zero for the fraudulent votes.