In an excellent article in The Seattle Times today, reporter Susan Gilmore attempts to explain the role of the King County canvassing board, and how surprising little controversy has arisen from what could potentially have been a partisan fire-fight:
The three-member panel, which decides which ballots are eligible to be counted and certifies election returns, is made up of two Democrats and one Republican.
But despite the partisan swirl that has surrounded the governor’s race, nearly all canvassing-board decisions in this election have been unanimous, and members say their focus is on trying to apply the rules fairly.
For this factual description of the process, Gilmore was criticized by right-wing blog (un)Sound Politics, in their usual, dismissive fashion:
Well, of course they would say that. Or at least two of them would.
So to set the record straight, I decided to ask the other member, Republican Dan Satterberg, who was appointed to the canvassing board to represent King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng. Here is what he wrote back:
The King County Canvassing Board reviewed around 1,600 ballots during the manual recount that were forwarded to us by the recount boards for determination of voter intent. The vast majority of those questioned ballots were resolved by a unanimous consensus of the Board. There were probably only about 20 contested votes, though I did not keep track of the number. While the split was always 2-1, of course, I was not always on the losing side.
I think Dan’s words require no parsing.
Of course, the folks at (un)Sound Politics could have asked Dan themselves — they’ve claimed to have emailed with him before. But they didn’t. Because their goal is to sow as much public distrust in the process as possible, so as to delegitimize a Gregoire administration, and possibly force a new election.
The truth is, the process has been transparent, orderly, and fair… even in those counties with no Democrats on the canvassing boards. And canvassing board members like Dan Satterberg deserve a lot of the credit.