Gregoire played by the rules… and won

While state Republicans continue to vilify Christine Gregoire for forcing and winning a hand recount, our governor-elect is starting to acquire folk-hero status amongst national Democrats. Writing in The Nation (“Rule One: Count Every Vote“), John Nichols points out that “politics is a game played by rules” and he lauds Gregoire for showing the kind of fight during the recount process that Al Gore and John Kerry failed to muster.

Maybe someday, if the Democrats really want to win the presidency, they will nominate someone like Christine Gregoire. Gregoire is the Washington state attorney general who this year was nominated by Democrats to run for governor of that state. She is hardly a perfect politician — like too many Democrats, she is more of a manager than a visionary; and she is as ideologically drab as Gore or Kerry.

But Gregoire had one thing going for her, and that was her determination to win.

Nichols rightly ridicules Dino Rossi for ridiculing Democratic demands for the “fuller, sounder” manual recount provided by law:

Rossi claimed that Gregoire wanted to count and recount the ballots until she was declared the winner.

In a sense, Rossi was right.

Gregoire did want to keep counting until she won. But, of course, that is the point of the recount process: If you think that the votes are there to assure your victory, you keep demanding that they be counted and tabulated. This is the fundamental rule that neither Gore nor Kerry ever quite got.

Of course, the law also provides that Rossi can contest the election, but thus far he has failed to show convincing evidence of any legal grounds. Indeed at his press conference yesterday, he focused his criticisms on the concept of a hand recount, rather than providing proof of any fraud or error in the actual recount itself. Nichols concludes:

The fight may not be over yet. Rossi is crying foul. But the likelihood is that, in Washington state, the Democrat, not the Republican, will be taking the oath of office in January. There are two reasons why this is the case. First, Christine Gregoire got more votes. Second, she demanded that they be counted.

As I’ve pointed out before, it is ironic that the hand recount that Rossi now attacks was sanctioned by a statute that he voted for. Criticize these rules all you want, but they were Rossi’s rules. Gregoire played by his rules. And she won.


  1. 1

    Erik spews:

    Nice quotes Goldy,

    There comes a time when every contest is over.

    In 8 hours, Gregoire will be certified the winner.

    When will the GOPers act civil?

    Are they going to boo and hiss at the inauguration? During her second and third term?

    Is there going to be an entirely new vocabulary invented for the malcontents starting with Ukraine County, Maurmee and the like?

    Can one imagine when one wins medal at the Olympics for skiing, stands on the platform and is awarded a medal in a tight race and competitor from Jamica refuses to concede?

    There gets to be a point when the naysayers don’t matter and the race is over.

    Why is it so hard to believe that Gregoire received just slightly over 50 percent of the votes in a state that is quite blue. Kerry won by quite a margin in Washington. The real story is how Rossi came so close.

    The Mamma/Maurmy chants won’t change anything. Gregoire will be certified as the governor in 8 hours.

  2. 3

    Bob spews:

    Rossi lost track of the only way to win was to count all the ballots……just how many discarded ballots are sitting in various counties. King has some and so do the other counties.

    Worst media show in the world last night….snide comments and sore loser stuff all over….And God he looked and sounded really bad…. That vacation did not help. Or maybe Chris Vance is getting to him too…what a horror…if he keeps it up he will destroy his chances in any state election, BUT, will be a cult leader amont the nutwing conspiracy cult folks. They do this ever so often, remember Linda Smith? It will be ever funnier/stranger when some right wing churches clamor in and sugges that God wanted him as Gov…some cub who wants a piece of this will do the right wing church angle soon…TNT…..waiting for the Falwell type comment…

    Gong to the ball…..going to get a table and get some homless voters there….wanna bet we make it on camera….huh, Jim and Goldy

  3. 4

    Jim King spews:

    Goldy- It was Rossi’s rules about as much as it was Gregoire’s memo. I called bullshit on not just the Snark, but everyone who pushed that piece of crap- I’m calling you out on this- ESPECIALLY because you know better. Don’t sink to the Snark’s level…

    The bill Dino voted for, along with every other member of the Legislature, made only two changes of substance to the recount rules- it defined “recount” (I seem to recal the GOP being on the right side of that argument before the State Supremes, and Gregoire’s folks arguing the opposite), and it set the 2,000 vote trigger.

    Now which of those two “rules” that Dino voted for is he griping about?

  4. 5

    Jim King spews:

    Sorry- mussed one other change- no coffee yet- the bill raised the cost of requesting a manual recount from a nickel to a quarter a vote… But I don’t remember Rossi griping about THAT rule, either…

  5. 6

    WesternFlyer spews:

    The bill Dino voted for, along with every other member of the Legislature, made only two changes of substance. . . .

    Wrong. It made at least a fourth change of substance that creates a real problem for Dino right now. RCW 29A.68.020 says “All election contests must proceed under RCW 29A.68.010.”

    But Dino’s vote repealed RCW 29A.68.010 when it enacted RCW 29A.684.011. No corresponding amendment was made to the last sentence of RCW 29A.68.020. So, we are left with RCW 29A.68.020 saying bluntly “All election contests must proceed under RCW 29A.68.010.”

    But there is no RCW 29A.68.010, because Dino voted to repeal it.

    The conservatives, in particular, love to focus on the plain meaning of legislation. The plain meaning of RCW 29A.68.002 is that all contests to election have to be under RCW 29A.68.010, and RCW 29A.68.010 doesn’t exist.

  6. 7

    bj spews:

    Most Laughable Comment (ref.: Seattle Times)–

    (Rossi) added that if he were in Gregoire’s position — ahead after losing the first two counts — he would agree to a revote.

    “I would not want to enter office with so many people viewing my governorship as illegitimate,” he wrote.

  7. 8

    bj spews:

    Also from the Seattle Times —

    Q. Has anyone ever tried to do a (believable) study to try to quantify the margin of error in any of the counting processes that we use?
    A. Not that we have found.

    (I guess they didn’t look very hard, thus reinforcing the R’s continuing bogus claim that manual recounts are less accurate.)

  8. 9

    bj-too spews:

    Ha Ha. You know, if I had won by 42 votes I would have
    called for a revote (42 mind you, not 129 or 10, or 17).

    This post (and the Rule One: Count every vote) raises what
    I think is the real smoking gun of this election: Democratic
    votes are undercounted when Dems don’t insist. I don’t
    attribute this to fraud (or incompetance on the part of
    Dems). I attribute it to the urban characteristics of the
    dem voters (higher density, more mobility, less

    I really really want someone to do an analysis of the count.
    We already know that King county ballots were rejected at
    a higher rate for signature mis-matches than any other
    county. Was this legitimate? Or were King county votes
    still undercounted? My guess is that they were, and that
    Gregoire’s margin would be closer to 500 votes if votes
    were counted by the same standards all over Washington.

    The time to advocate for changes is now, when the dems
    won by the current (flawed) rules.


  9. 10

    Dan spews:

    What a bunch of crap … Gregorie doesn’t deserve all the props, Paul Berendt does. Gregoire’s staff went on vacation and she sat on her bum while the state party did all the work, raised the money and raised hell. Berendt should be state chair for life.

  10. 11

    Rae spews:

    Erik: your comment about the Olympic skier is just plain silly. If the Jamaican skier had won the first race, was challenged to a “retiming” by the rules governing photo finishes, and then won the second race but the photo finish was even more nose-to-nose, and the two-time “loser” then insisted on a 3rd race….Well, you see what I mean. Actually, I guess they’d just have to replay the tapes of the races and each time manage to shave off hundredths of second off the time of the eventual “winner” until his time was the better time. Again, keep the race alive until the favored person wins. Find a better analogy to make you point.

  11. 12

    bby spews:

    Dan – on target. When Paul B. went to court and hustled the people into the field to help get the rejected ballots material back to the county – that was the beginning of the fight-AND the victory.

    Three cheers and some national Public Servide Award for Paul Brandt.

  12. 13

    bby spews:

    Rae – you don’t invent anything, honey bunch, Read our lips. Dino lost, Gregoire followed/used he LAW – remember that old gassy raggy concept.

  13. 14

    doginfollow spews:

    Kudos to Gregoire for battling and winning. But we in Washington should know better than to buy in to some myth that she’s the Democrats’ street-fightin’ answer to Rove.

    I don’t think she handled her situation much differently from Al Gore in 2000. She pursued a coherent legal and moral strategy (count all the votes) but like Gore did not employ scorched-earth PR tactics and was actually losing the battle of perceptions until the last recount. She did learn a lesson from 2000 by going for a statewide recount rather than cherry-pick counties. But that was just a smarter tactic rather than a difference in determination to win.

    The main difference here, sad to say, is the Washington Supreme Court v. the U.S. Supreme Court, and secondarily the old-fashioned integrity of Sam Reed v. the hackery of Katherine Harris.

  14. 15

    jcricket spews:

    Rae – perhaps the skiing analogy is a stretch, but your reading of it is incorrect. It’s more like the skiiers were very close but it appeared the Jamaican skiier was the winner by about .1 seconds. Then they went to the mandatory instant replay and it appeared the Jamacian skiier had won by only .05 seconds. So the US skiier asked the judges to review the tape up in their booths, as per the rules set out before the race, and the judges noticed that the US skiiers ski tip actually crossed the line first by about .1 seconds, the automatic clock wasn’t sensitive enough to record that difference. So, the US skiier wins. Nothing illegal, just following the rules.

    Another good analogy is the instant replay rule/coaches challenge in the NFL. Referees make a call, the coach doesn’t think it’s right, they ask for a ruling. The refs then look into it more closely. If the coach is wrong, he pays (in the form of a timeout, similar to the $730,000 Gregoire’s team paid). If the coach is right, the call is overturned. That’s not a “do-over” or “making the rules up as you go along”, and it’s not right to say “my team won the first call, they were robbed”. In the years since instant replay has been introduced, I believe something like 30% of calls have been overturned on further review. That’s not a slam on the refs, the game moves fast and there’s a lot going on. It doesn’t mean that 30% of their calls should be overturned or that we should add instant replay to every call the refs make. It just means that in the case of a “close call”, the league has instituted a “hand review” mechanism to ensure the right decision gets made. But in order to keep things moving, you can’t keep reviewing the same play again and again.

    So that’s what we have here. Automatic first count, then automatic machine recount (if the difference is <2000), then individually requested hand-count (“coaches challenge”), then decision. It’s a good system to manage close elections. Not perfect, but better than just relying on machine counts, which have proven less accurate than hand recounts in the Caltech/MIT studies.

  15. 16

    Rae spews:

    Except in the case of the “recounts” it wasn’t a re-examination of what was already done (counted. It was an examination (recount) but this “examination” was amended with the addition of more ballots, therefore making it not the same race at all, but an entirely new one.

  16. 17

    Goldy spews:

    Goldy- It was Rossi’s rules about as much as it was Gregoire’s memo. I called bullshit on not just the Snark, but everyone who pushed that piece of crap- I’m calling you out on this- ESPECIALLY because you know better. Don’t sink to the Snark’s level…

    Jim, I knew the “these were Rossi’s rules” line would piss you off. You know I try to be honest, but I also have a responsibility here to do a little partisan spin, and I think I have the right to a little poetic license now and then.

    The fact is, the legislature addressed this chapter of the RCW, and if Rossi had a problem with the hand recount provision, he could have tried to address it, but he didn’t. He voted for the whole package of changes, as adopted. Now you have to admit that there is irony there.

    And while I suppose it is unfair to say they were exclusively his rules, they were the rules in place, that everybody agreed to play by. To come back now, after you have lost the hand recount, and argue that we need a new election because hand recounts are less accurate, not only flies in the face of the scientific literature, but also the collective opinion of a legislature, that he was a part of, that voted to reaffirm the primacy of hand recounts in close elections.

    This same statute provides Rossi the opportunity to contest the election in a court of law, and if he can sufficiently prove fraud or misconduct or error, he may get the new election he wants. But if he’s going to ironically play the “hand recount” card, I’m going to flip that irony back in his face.

  17. 18

    Paul Thompson spews:

    There is a big difference in that Rossi won twice and had he one the third time he would have been a three time winner. Gregoire finally one the third time only after King County spent three weeks digging for votes.Seattle should be carefull beacause there are other people who live in this state and they are pretty “fed up and not going to take it any more.” The incompetence of the King County elections department makes Gregoires 130 vote winning margin completely non believable. I ask every partisan Democrat to honestly consider what their position would be if Christine had one twice only to have the election reversed after three weeks of unbelievable nonsense in Spokane? Can anyone with a straight face tell me that your position would be the same?

    paul daniel

  18. 19

    Goldy spews:

    Paul… and I ask you the same question in reverse.

    I have noted before that there has been an extreme lack of empathy by both sides for the other. The fact is, this was an extremely close election, and neither side should feel absolutely confident in the results, whoever is determined the winner. Still, the statute says that the hand recount is the final count.

    You call what happened in KC “unbelievable nonsense”… well I disagree… it was very believable nonsense. When you’re dealing with so many absentee ballots some errors occur. Ironically, most of the errors that were uncovered in KC had disadvantaged Gregoire. If those 735 ballots had not been misfiled — if election workers had completed the canvassing by pulling the paperwork to find the signature cards as the procedures in place dictated — Gregoire would have been leading after the machine recount.

  19. 22

    jcricket spews:

    In a purely technical sense, yes, Rossi is a “two time winner”. But practically speaking it’s more like Rossi was ahead the entire basketball game until Gregoire hits a 3 from half-court with 1 second left to win . Doesn’t matter that Rossi was ahead the entire time and played a better game. State law clearly states the hand recount is definitive. You can believe that KC “dug for votes” all you want, but that’s just Republican propoganda. As the SeattleTimes pointed out today, many counties found votes, and no one has proven anything untoward went on. What you call “unbelievable nonsense” I call “what’s to be expected in a county that has 1/3 of the state’s population”.


    To answer your other question: Yes, Paul. My position would be the same.

    When Gore lost in 2000 (despite winning the popular vote, which isn’t the definitive count for presidential elections), I thought Florida was a complete mess. The butterfly ballots, Supreme Court stopping the recount, etc. I certainly didn’t think of Bush as “my president”, but I didn’t go around referring to the election as stolen, and I didn’t think of Bush as “illegitimate”. I just moved on and supported his opposition in the next election.

    I was also mad at Gore for running a campaign that made it so close, and I wanted to see election reform happen to avoid the balloting and voting problems that happened in Florida.

    If Gregoire had come out ahead during two counts, and then Rossi won the hand recount, I would certainly be pissed off. I might even wonder if Republicans had committed “centralized voting fraud” by purposefully mis-programming the electronic voting machines. But I wouldn’t be out there insisting on it or claiming I had evidence proving it, when I don’t. I wouldn’t think of Rossi as “my governor”, but I’d remedy that by supporting his opposition the next time around. I’m not one of those people who think you should “rally behind our Governor/President” just because they won.

    You voted for Rossi, he lost, you’re angry. Get out there and support the opposition.

    And please stop the threats (“Seattle should be careful…”), an appeal to force is not a persuasive argument. I could just as easily say, “The rest of the state should be careful if they want to continue to receive a disproportionate share of state/tax benefits. Seattle’s tired of footing the bill.” But that’s just as persuasive (which is to say, not).

    The facts show that more people voted for Gregoire than Rossi, it doesn’t matter if more people outside of Seattle voted for Rossi, because we don’t have an in-state electoral college system for the election of governor. Your suspicions and allegations and bias against Democrats/KC don’t equal evidence of anything illegitimate happening.

  20. 23

    jcricket spews:

    Comment by Rae— 12/30/04 @ 10:15 am

    Rae – I was trying to stretch the analogy, I did say it wasn’t a perfect one. A better analogy is the court system. If you are convicted of an offense, you get the right to an appeal. If you win on appeal and the conviction is overturned, that’s it, you’re free to go. Doesn’t matter if you lost 3 appeals and the original case. The state can’t retry you because of double jeapordy. Does this sometimes mean that guilty people end up going free? Possibly. But it’s also been seen recently that far too many innocent people are in jail because evidence in their favor wasn’t considered properly the first time.

    So in that sense, the recounts are considering all the evidence that should have been included in the first “trial” (count).

  21. 24

    Chuck spews:

    “The rest of the state should be careful if they want to continue to receive a disproportionate share of state/tax benefits. Seattle’s tired of footing the bill.”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Perhaps someone needs to do a little research, they could find that Seattle consumes more state and federal tax money than they pay out.

  22. 25

    Paul Thompson spews:


    My comment, “Seattle should be careful” was not meant as an appeal to force. My point is simply that they should be careful of the political cost of creating a sense of disenfrachisement amongst the rest of the state. Many of us feel that King County is a three hundred pound gorilla that leads the rest of us around on a leash. Also, my objection is not to the hand recount itself. Christine had every right to it; it is the law. My issue is what if the hand recount overturned the results in Rossi’s favor after SPOKANE COUNTY had three weeks of activity similar to what has happened recently in King County? Then would you feel the same? And what if, in the end, the number of votes counted in King County actually ends up being several thousand higher than verifiable votes cast(no fraud, just gross incompetence), then what? Would you support a new election?

    paul daniel

  23. 27

    bby spews:

    Wrong, Chuck, totally wrong. Car tabs just the first example. That flood of money came from King Co and went back to the small counties in many -many ways….now they are screwed…And, supreme irony, KingCo/Seattle voted to KEEP them….

    Think about what you are saying in terms of just plain math- sales tax, property tax……where is there more dollar volume in buying than Seattle/King Co…and where is there anything like Seattle property tax base….look at the hundreds and hundreds of millions of new const. in downtown….we are the tax exporters, and most of us have no problems if it helps feed a hungry chid somewhere or pay their medical bills….new cop cars, not thinking so generous.

    Not rocket science. Sorry, buddy, your hositity is not based on facts. Glad the kid got the ballot counted.

  24. 28

    Steve spews:

    Gregoire ran an overcautious boring play-it-safe campaign like Kerry did in the summer. She blew her lead and deserves a lot of credit for making it so close. Berendt also deserves considerable credit by opposing the top-two primary and getting Locke to veto it, making it possible for Bennett to get tens of thousands of votes while trying to take them from Gregoire. Both Berendt and Gregoire are really lucky with this recount result. I hope Gregoire does better as Governor than she was as a campaigner.

  25. 29

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    bbj asked about Jefferson County–I observed the entire process and have done so for numerous previous elections there:
    1) Very experienced Auditor and Election supervisor–they have been thru a previous recount situation.
    3) All 3 counts, the voter registration list total reconciled to the total ballots counted. The only changes were over- and under-votes that were not picked up. Total ballots counted ALWAYS RECONCILED.

    These experienced Election people were astounded that other Counties did not do this reconciliation BEFORE certifying each count. IT IS A FUNDAMENTAL STEP IN THE PROCESS. The fact that King County, after 3 counts, is over 3000 voters off is beyond belief!!! Other counties have also neglected to do this obvious due diligence, fundamental internal control step in the process.

    Rossi said in his letter “an election contest would bring EVERY questioned aspect of this election before the Legislature or a Court for review”. EVERY ASPECT!!!! Not every aspect on Goldy’s blog, EVERY ASPECT!

    Before dimwitted bbj nominates Paul Berendt for a National Public Service Award or “State Dem Chair for Life”, you may want to look carefully thru those affadavits he brought in and attested to their validity with his tears.

  26. 30

    Josef spews:

    Comment by Paul Thompson— 12/30/04 @ 11:02 am

    Well, King County has 1/3rd of the state’s population. That said, East King County – over the CAO – is talking secession again… Good, I say – for any Democrat King County Councilmember who voted for it is hereby, upon 72 hours notice, invited to my place in Skagit County for a tour of my family’s fields… and to meet my very Democratic father!

  27. 31

    Josef spews:

    Comment by Mr. Cynical— 12/30/04 @ 11:22 am

    Nice to see you. Your last two paragraphs said a lot…

    That said, I’m not going to let it out with my full fury because I don’t think anybody but my friend in Rossi HQ would like it!

  28. 32

    Richard Pope spews:

    We still have yet to see whether every ballot that was counted in the recent election was actually cast by someone who voted. King County counted 899,199 ballots, but has only been able to come up with the names of 895,660 actual voters — a shortfall of 3,539 voters as compared with ballots. The information provided by Snohomish County doesn’t seem to match up at all.

    If these discrepancies persist, there is no doubt that the election will have to be nullified. Gregoire will look like an idiot for triumphally claiming victory and a mandate from the people, and will be clobbered badly whenever the revote occurs.

    Rossi is playing everything properly. Since the validity of the election still has not yet been proven, it is logical to suggest that a revote is an appropriate solution. Rossi is wise not to contest the election immediately, since he still has time, and there is always a possibility that King, Snohomish and other Democrat-controlled counties will be able to reconcile the number of actual people voting with the number of actual ballots counted.

    People will forgive Rossi if it turns out there are no irregularities justifying setting aside the election. But they won’t forget Gregoire for triumphally claiming victory, if that victory is overturned because there are thousands, or even hundreds, more ballots counted in King County, than people actually casting them, or for some other reason.

  29. 33

    bby spews:

    FACT- all you stupid right wing nuts – oh, didn’t mean to be insulting. The two biggest counties, King and Snhomish are not complete in getting all the data entered about voters……OH, must be the BIG FIX… it was the three count big election. Inundated, non-stop since Oct and the primaries. Created tons- lots of problems for the largest counties…. hard to understand for the “we love a conspriacy folks”….so stupidly silly…..our new ruling class….over my rabbelfish City

    Rossi, Concede.

  30. 34

    Richard Pope spews:

    Comment by Mr. Cynical— 12/30/04 @ 11:22 am

    Jefferson County sounds like a very honest county. Jefferson also happens to be even more Democrat and liberal than King County. It just goes to show that one can be a liberal Democrat, and still be honest and efficient. Too bad the same principles cannot work in King County government. Of course, King County government is the fault of Ron Sims, and not Christine Gregoire.

    It is incredible that Sam Reed would certify an election at the statewide level, without requiring counties to reconcile the number of ballots cast with the number of people actually voting. This should be required in all elections, not just ones which have close races.

  31. 35

    jcricket spews:

    Paul – There were quite a number of similar (%-wise) changes in other counties where ballots were found at a proportional level to KC during the machine or hand recounts. Doesn’t bother me. I see that as evidence the system was working. When Rossi’s lead kept increasing during the hand recount, and the overall count kept going up, I saw it as the election system working.

    I understand that the rest of the state doesn’t like it, but King County has 1/3 of the states population (and growing) and will always exert a proportional level of pull on state policies. I understand where the perception comes from (so many people, so little land covered), but frankly, KC covering a smaller percentage of land than the other counties doesn’t mean squat. Our population has just as much of a right to determine the destiny of this state as people living spread out across sparsely populated rural counties. Having more voters per square mile doesn’t mean we’re doing anything sneaky.

    King Co/Seattle residents voted to keep the car tabs at their previous levels (voting against Eyman), but the rest of the state voted against it. Reports now are that the counties most hurt by the budget shortfall are those outside of King, who are least able to make up for the budget shortfall elsewhere (hard to raise property or sales taxes with small populations). People across the state might not want to admit it, but contrary to popular perception, rural (“red”) areas are often the recipients of urban (“blue)” areas money in the form of tax breaks, money for rural hospitals, welfare, etc.

    See for more details.

  32. 36

    chuck spews:

    Not rocket science. Sorry, buddy, your hositity is not based on facts. Glad the kid got the ballot counted.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Sorry to hurt your feelings on the tax matter, but it has nothing to do with hostility, Seattle consumes rather than adds taxes from the state and federal budget. Im talking about ALL taxes, not a pick and choose thing.

  33. 37

    Richard Pope spews:

    Comment by bby— 12/30/04 @ 11:28 am

    If the shoe were on the other foot, you would be hollering fraud. Let’s say Rossi had won by only 42 votes, but Lewis County showed 900 more ballots counted, than the names of actual people voting. And let’s also suppose that Benton County’s numbers were all over the board, for good measure. You would be hollering that Rossi’s apparent 42 vote victory should be nullified because of the hundreds of ballots counted in Lewis County that weren’t cast by real people voting, and the total discrepancies in the reconciliation in Benton County.

  34. 38

    bby spews:

    Richard – Sweet Sam just said tht the reconcile process takes a month after finishing election, not unusual, and King Co had told him they were simply not finished.

    Snohomish- big counth in he same situation. Two, corrupt counties, no, slow data processing—- as Sam so crefully explained based on his 23 yers of experience in Thrustn County….geez….grasping at the wind and straws….

    SHOW US SOME MASSIVE FRAUD….SOON……soon…soon…soon…soon….soon…soon.

    Every day…every day….every…day…week after week….week after weed…week after week…

  35. 39

    Goldy spews:

    Perhaps someone needs to do a little research, they could find that Seattle consumes more state and federal tax money than they pay out.

    I have been told by those wiser than me on these issues, that this is a very silly debate to engage in, because it is difficult to measure, and one can twist the numbers in many ways. For example, the original assertion regarded state tax dollars, and Chuck has cleverly conflated it to include federal.

    I think perhaps there is one clear example where tax dollars generally flow from King County to the rest of the state: the state property tax, which is a school levy. With the highest median property values in the state, KC families pay more state property tax per child than those elsewhere. Yet, the vast majority of state K-12 spending is distributed back to local school districts on a per student basis.

    I believe Cricket also raised the issue of the defunct car tabs. Jim King could probably explain this better, but a large portion of the revenues raised used to be redistributed out to poorer counties (I think something to do with offsetting lack of local sales tax revenues), while a disproportionate amount of the tax was raised from wealthy KC drivers.

    While I cannot provide conclusive data that shows that Seattle/KC is a net state tax dollar exporter, I can pretty confidently tell you that the popular notion in eastern WA that Seattle is sucking them dry is patently false.

  36. 40

    bby spews:

    No – not true Richard. I would first get dome really smart people to do a really smart check of the FACTS, assume that it ill tke some time and some finesses, and some non-conspiritor thinking.

    Those people, you too if the shoe fits, are the albatross around Rossi’s neck……worthless in a court of law…Facts, Richard, Facts… Richard

  37. 41

    Goldy spews:

    If the shoe were on the other foot, you would be hollering fraud. Let’s say Rossi had won by only 42 votes, but Lewis County showed 900 more ballots counted, than the names of actual people voting.

    If the shoe were on the other foot, and I was screaming bloody murder about the “Lewis County 900″, only later to discover that they had not completed compiling the data, and when they were done, the numbers reconciled…. I would feel pretty damn stupid.

    Just because KC and Snohomish’s published totals don’t match, doesn’t mean the numbers didn’t reconcile on a precinct by precinct basis. Give them time to finish the job, and if there are still 3000 unexplained extra ballots, then you might have a case.

  38. 42

    bby spews:

    F Y I –Bothe defeated candidate Rossi and newly elected Gov. Christine Gregoire have press conf. scheduled for this afternoon….big day.

    Mr C- thanks for the info. Glad to hear there was no fraud. My confidence is restored completely for all counties now.

    I know Jefferson is old commie terra, have some friends there, the ones with the rainbow painted bus…

    My ranting about Jefferson was a mock of you ranting about King Co…..Happy New Year

  39. 43

    chuck spews:

    I think perhaps there is one clear example where tax dollars generally flow from King County to the rest of the state: the state property tax,>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The problem with the property tax theory is the sheer amount of land throuout the east side and southwest washington that are taxed. I am not saying that any one county is supporting Seattle but it is in fact a group effort around the state.

  40. 44

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    If Sam Reed approves of the fact that reconciling voter registration list totals to the total ballots counted takes another month after 3 counts, I will never vote for him again. It’s disgraceful. This should be done before certification. His standard for internal controls is lower than whale poop!

  41. 45

    bby spews:

    IMPRESSED- Gates announced 3 million from The Foundatin to the Asian devastation. What a pip. Wonder if Allen will match? Nice contest, will give Paul A. a call and offer the idea.

    Chuck– the Gates foundation is spending 50 million on a Seattle site for the new Hq. –Leaving the state…well, maybe lots of rumors from the folks who plant rumors for a living….and Bill has a really nice house in tax suffient/rich…you guessed it…KING Co.

  42. 46

    jcricket spews:

    Chuck – it’s not the “sheer amount of land” that makes a difference, and you ignored Goldy’s main point. It’s the value that the state places on that land that makes KC pay a disproportionate amount. Goldy’s right in that the value of the land in KC is very high (supply and demand – no one wants to live in Garfield county). As Goldy wrote: “With the highest median property values in the state, KC families pay more state property tax per child than those elsewhere”. KC and Seattle are most assuredly not using more of the taxes than they put in. Quite the opposite.

    Mind you, I’m actually not complaining about that. I understand that part of the role of taxes is to distribute the wealth so that everyone gets a fair chance.

  43. 47

    Richard Pope spews:

    Comment by bby— 12/30/04 @ 11:43 am

    I can see why Sam Reed took a month to reconcile the ballot totals with actual voters in Thurston County during his 23 years of being county auditor there. It says a lot about his effectiveness as an administrator. Enough said.

    As for King County, the vast majority of the (current) discrepancy appears to be with absentee ballots counted versus absentee voters accepted. There is absolutely no reason why this should be the case.

    When your absentee ballot in King County is processed, your voter data (i.e. name, registration number, etc.) is entered into the computer database, along with the result of this processing — ballot accepted, no signature, signature mismatch, ballot missing (whoops!), postmarked late, received late, etc.

    For correctable categories, such as no signature, or signature mismatch, the computer database will be updated if a valid signature is furnished in a timely manner to ballot accepted, and the ballot will be taken out of the envelope and counted.

    There should be absolutely no reason why King County can’t simply hit a few keys on their computer, and immediately generate a listing of all of the absentee voters whose ballots have been accepted. This should be possible today. It should have been possible on 11/17/2004, when the original county certification was done. In fact, it should have been possible at any time on any day previous to 11/17/2004 to generate those names, at least for the absentee ballots that had been processed by elections workers up to that very minute.

    I could see that data entry of polling place voters could take some time. Those names would come from signatures in the polling place register books. (Conceivably, those pages could be fed through a scanner for faster data entry.)

    However, the polling place also generates a numbered list for each precinct, on paper, where the election worker writes your name down, in sequence, after you signed the book and are issued a ballot. The number of names of each precinct list is very easy to determine, since they are numbered.

    Even if it would take some time to enter the polling place names into the computer, the number of polling place ballots counted in each precinct should still be exactly equal to the number of names listed on the precinct list written out by the election worker. (If there was a discrepancy, the polling place register could be checked to count the exact number of voters who signed in.)

    You want me to give you FACTS. Unfortunately, King County is incredibly screwed up, and hasn’t compiled these FACTS yet. Of course, you don’t have FACTS to support the proposition that all of the votes (recently certified by Sam Reed) in favor of Gregoire were really cast by real people either.

  44. 48

    bby spews:

    Interesting – folks are avoiding the election – heads are rattled

    Or, have we just finally all agreeded, Rossi should concede. Keep the slush fund.

    Dems are still getting tons of money from all over- not hard to understand – Washington took a stand. And we are the election moded, three counts, stats to keep the wonks busy for 50 years.

    MIT and Cal Tech will raise millions in grants to study this election-

  45. 49

    chuck spews:

    the Gates foundation is spending 50 million on a Seattle site for the new Hq.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Boeing spent far more than that on the Fredrickson expansion, they are in Chi town now!

  46. 50

    chuck spews:

    pay more state property tax per child>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    This reference is to levy and bond items to which Seattle is top heavy with. Very little property tax actually goes to “the child”

  47. 51

    Paul Thompson spews:


    “Stupid right wing nuts.” Is that all you got dude? If all else fails call people stupid.This kind of talk reveals a great deal about who you are and says absolutely nothing about us.

    a proud right wing nut,

    paul daniel

  48. 52

    chuck spews:

    IMPRESSED- Gates announced 3 million from The Foundatin to the Asian devastation>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I can see it now, as Bill pulls his trousers on 3 million fell out of the pocket, as he bent over to pick it up Melinda says Bill why dont you put that change in an envelope and…….

  49. 53

    Richard Pope spews:

    Comment by Mr. Cynical— 12/30/04 @ 12:03 pm

    I didn’t vote for Sam Reed this time, although I did vote for him in 2000. I definitely would not vote for him again. I hope Laura Ruderman runs again in 2008, and runs a more effective campaign as well. Most of the Dems, of course, will vote for her again — maybe not quite as many as did this time, of course. If she can make a convincing case for election reform, and convinces people that she will be fair, she will get enough support from independents and Republicans to send Sam Reed packing.

  50. 54

    Goldy spews:

    pay more state property tax per child>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
    This reference is to levy and bond items to which Seattle is top heavy with. Very little property tax actually goes to “the child”


    I was specifically referring to the state portion of the property tax… which is officially a state school levy… the revenues are dedicated to K-12 education. It comprises about a third of the typical household’s property tax bill, and a significant portion of total state expenditures per student. Since state K-12 expenditures are almost entirely in the form of equal, per-student distributions to local school districts, and since KC median property values are higher, the typical KC family pays more state property tax per child, than let’s say, in Asotin County. However, school districts in both counties receive from the state roughly the same amount of money per student.

    I’m just talking about the state school levy here… so don’t go trying to confuse the issue with local bonds and levies.

  51. 55

    bby spews:

    Paul – just so frustrated by NO FACTS – conspiring to keep the world flat has never worked for me….their tactical efforts so far have been stupid, sorry, Paul.

    Not personal to you, my church says love the sinner, not the sin.

  52. 57

    bby spews:

    Chuck – does anything make you happy?

    Oh, they have flaws, but we have the best Democratic billionaires in the country…not to mention the thousands of multi-millionaires…praise the internet and computer sciences…. big time fatcats not nearly so generous elsewhere….but puzzled, the Gates billions…such a good capitalist success…somehow tainted in ultra the right wing?

  53. 58

    chuck spews:

    I think if you look into it the figure you are siting includes the local bonds as well as the levies.

  54. 60

    chuck spews:

    Chuck – does anything make you happy?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Actually I was joking about that, put on a jacket, your skin is a bit thin today.

  55. 61

    Richard Pope spews:

    Comment by Goldy— 12/30/04 @ 12:53 pm

    You give a good argument against Eyman-ism. His proposals would not be as popular among the conservative voters outside of King County if only the truth were known. Seattle liberals living in million dollar houses with no children are paying for the education of children in Asotin County. Seattle liberals driving Volvos and Mercedes were paying for roads in Adams County. And Seattle liberals don’t mind taxing themselves almost as much as the hated MVET (repealed by I-695 — well not exactly, but you know what I mean) to fund a useless monorail.

    On the other hand, how many of these Seattle liberals are now registered to vote at a private mailbox place in Shoreline or Lake Forest Park, so that they don’t have to pay the monorail tax on their Mercedes or Volvo anymore? Stay tuned to Sound Politics, where the Shark will soon be answering that question …

  56. 62

    Peter spews:

    Best in the New Year to All.

    On the other blog just noticed the use of “Tsuamni of voter fraud” and I have to say that is this most CRASS thing I have encountered in my life. Shame. You are sickening.

  57. 63

    Goldy spews:

    I think if you look into it the figure you are siting includes the local bonds as well as the levies.

    No Chuck. There is a state school levy, which comprises the entirety of the state portion of your property tax. The Constitution dedicates the revenues from this tax to education.

    Let me point you to Mercer Island, since they break it down nicely on their website, and I happen to have the link handy.

    In Mercer Island, the State School Levy is 2.76 per mill, or 31.3% of the total property tax bill. The Mercer Island School District levy is 2.2 per mill, or 24.9% of the total bill.

    Those state school levy revenues are then redistributed state wide, largely on a per student basis. This clearly results in a redistribution of tax revenue from high property value communities like Seattle, to lower property value communities in Eastern Washington.

    I’m not complaining about the redistribution… I just get awfully annoyed at the perception east of the Cascades that the money flows in the other direction.

  58. 64

    chuck spews:

    If the tax was based on a per child charge, then your formula might be ok, but children have nothing to do with the tax…

  59. 65

    Goldy spews:

    If the tax was based on a per child charge, then your formula might be ok, but children have nothing to do with the tax…

    Oh Chuck, if you’re going to play rhetorical games like that, why bother continuing this debate? You know exactly what I’m saying — state school levy dollars flow from high property value communities to low property value communities — so let’s just leave it at that.

  60. 66

    bby spews:

    Richard – WATCH THE BALL … about an election, and big time voter fraud/frauds, compelling ehough to convince the astute and season in this matter, Supreme Court….how did the monorail tax get involved…..back to earth

  61. 67

    chuck spews:

    I guess my point is that some items are uncontrollable, unlike Seattle siphoning billions to build tunnels and such

  62. 68

    jcricket spews:

    Chuck – can you really not do the math? The average family in KC pays more than each family in (say) Asotin or Garfield county because the properties in KC are valued at a higher median price. Doesn’t matter how many kids people have in either county. However, the state distributes that portion of the property tax proportionately (same amount spent on each child across the state). Therefore, people in counties with higher property values pay more of the “per child” cost across the state, regardless of who has how many children.

    Fairly simple, I’m surprised you’re still arguing with Goldy about it.

  63. 69

    chuck spews:

    What is average? the average property owner around Walla Walla might have 20 acres that taxes are paid on, while Seattle the average is less than 1/2 to 1/4 acre…

  64. 70

    Voiceinthewilderness spews:

    Goldy’s comment, “I just get awfully annoyed at the perception east of the Cascades that the money flows in the other direction.”

    Just had to weigh in a bit, Goldy. Your perception is not entirely correct – many of us eastern Washington residents are very aware of the distribution that comes from the highly populated west side. It only takes a bit of work to see how the state tries to distribute for the benefit of the whole state, recognizing the differences in density, economic production, and basic services that must be funded. It would be impossible to conduct county operations in some counties like Asotin, without the distribution. I’m sure it is just as erroneous to have a perception that all the west siders would just as soon do without the east side, as in a useless appendage that should be dispensed of.

  65. 71

    jcricket spews:

    voice – I don’t think you’ll hear many west-siders seriously arguing in favor of “lopping” off the east side. If you do hear that argument, it’s almost always a response to the BS that people keep peddling about how city folk are draining all the money from “the hard working rural folk”.

    Most “city folk” I know are perfectly aware of how tax distribution works, and are in favor of it (as evidenced by the way they vote). We just get really annoyed that after so many years of voting to “help everyone out” it just gets thrown back in our faces. The same people who keep saying “tax and spend liberals” are the ones who couldn’t live without that “taxing and spending”, they just won’t admit it.

    So, sorry if you get tarred with the same brush as those folks.

  66. 72

    Goldy spews:

    I’m sure it is just as erroneous to have a perception that all the west siders would just as soon do without the east side, as in a useless appendage that should be dispensed of.

    Voice… I was, of course, generalizing. Understand that I come at this from the perspective of somebody who has been vocal in opposing Tim Eyman, and so I have had the opportunity to correspond with many of his supporters, and not always in friendly terms. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from easterners complaining about how they subsidize Seattle, and there’s really no convincing them otherwise.

  67. 73

    Voiceinthewilderness spews:

    jccricket…appreciate the response. It’s true. Kinda like siblings fightin’ –

    Goldy – hang in there. I’m new to the world of blog, but not to age old arguments that you’ve experienced. Some of us argue to have something to do for fun – it’s really more fun when someone bites on a line and gets really serious. More importantly is the fact we can argue without getting an IED in our face! Don’t worry about convincing the folks from the eastern side about subsidizing Seattle – you’re wasting time – kinda like the Dawgs and Cougs – some things just aren’t going to change. Keep up the Eyman opposition, though. We’re with you on that!

  68. 74

    Chuck spews:

    You know it goes even beyond taxes, take the town of Roy as an example, state funding was offered to insall new sidewalks thru town, they didnt need new sidewalks, but what mayor and counsel wants to be accused of passing up “free” money. So now the state (us) gets to pay for another boondoggle. Same in Yelm, and I am sure a lot of other communities. The point is the Seattle ultra liberal policies cost us more tax than actually gets spent in Seattle. If a city needs or wants a sidewalk, I feel they can fund something that trivial by themselves without a state windfall.