I’m trying to wean this blog from “all election contest all the time”, so that I can cover some issues that are actually important. But I couldn’t help notice a curious thing about the trickle of new information coming from Dino Rossi’s legal team: the more errors they uncover, the less it may help their case.
Much of the manufactured outrage has focused on Democratic stronghold, King County. The county has especially been taken to task for the 348 provisional ballots that apparently were improperly fed into scanning machines at the polling place. To hear some on the right-wing blogs tell it, this is a “smoking gun” that proves gross negligence, if not outright fraud.
Hmmm. But a number of similarly mishandled provisional ballots have now turned up in a few other counties, with more likely to come: there were 6 in Jefferson, 77 in Pierce, and 12 in Stevens. And when we calculate these numbers out as a percentage of total ballots cast in each county, we find that King’s performance was rather middling:
Stevens: .058% King: .038% Jefferson: .033% Pierce: .024%
In fact, if Stevens performance was extrapolated out using Kings 900,000 ballots, it would have had over 520 improperly canvassed provisional ballots.
As I’ve said before, the only thing extraordinary about this election was its closeness. But now I’ll add a corollary: the only think extraordinary about King County is its size.
Errors occurred throughout the state, as they do in every election. It wasn’t due to fraud or negligence… just honest mistakes. Indeed, considering how much effort has been put into uncovering illegal votes — and how little the Rossi/BIAW/GOP folks have to show for it — this is turning out to have been a remarkably clean and well run election.
Can we do better at running our elections? Absolutely. Can we achieve perfection? Not in this world.
If this election were to be set aside based on the evidence made public thus far, then every close election will find itself in court. And that’s a precedent the court simply doesn’t want to set.