One of the stupider arguments the Rossifarians have made against Democrats thus far is that they are somehow trying to “change the rules” regarding the 723 absentee ballots that King County mistakenly left uncounted thus far. Oh please.
In any other year, in any other election, in any other county… these ballots, once the error was discovered, would be counted. In fact, The Seattle P-I reports that five other counties — Whatcom, Kittitas, Chelan, Snohomish and Pierce — have already found and added valid ballots that weren’t included in the original count. [“Other counties added votes in recount“]
Indeed, if the Supreme Court grants the GOP their request for an injunction, it is Dino Rossi who will have changed the established rules.
“If they uphold the (lower court) decision, it raises questions not just about what we’ve done, but about what historically all counties have done for as long as I’ve been in the business, which is 25 years,” said Snohomish County Auditor Bob Terwilliger.
That’s not just one auditor’s opinion. The Manual Recount Procedures – FAQ issued by Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed on December 6, states that “As a general matter, counties will not revisit prior canvassing decisions in the manual recount.” But…
…Any canvassing board at any time in the original count, machine recount, or manual recount may, upon finding that a discrepancy or inconsistency exists, direct a recanvass of any necessary portion of the ballots.
That’s not much more than a restatement of RCW 29A.60.210, but it is an interpretation of the statute that has long guided elections in Washington state.
The other day, in trying to explain the process by which the 723 ballots were left not rejected, but uncounted, I wrote that I hoped “a King County election worker will correct me if I’m wrong.” Well, within 24 hours a memo was released from Superintendent of Elections Bill Huennekens showing that I was indeed wrong on some of the specifics, but right in my general conclusion: these ballots were not marked “rejected” but rather “No Signature on File.”
But more interesting to me was the following tidbit from the memo that has been conveniently ignored by unsound muckrakers:
This spring, I learned that the long-standing operating procedure for absentee voters who did not have a signature in the system was to simply let the ballot count. For the May special election, I instructed staff that this was not acceptable and that the effort must be made to locate the voter’s original registration card, or the image of their signature.
King County Elections has been roundly criticized as sloppy and incompetent — even corrupt — over these 723 signatures, but the only reason we learned about them in the first place was because of efforts to tighten up lax signature matching procedures. Funny thing is, if this election had taken place under the “long-standing operating procedures” of prior years, Gregoire may already have been certified the winner.