Reed: King can re-examine ballots

I’ve been a little behind on my reading, so I only just noticed this tidbit in Ken Vogel’s very thorough article today in the Tacoma News Tribune. [Election mess heads to court]

Reed said county canvassing boards could re-examine some rejected ballots “if there is a problem brought to their attention,” But, he said, “they really don’t have the authority to on their own decide that not only are we going to do a recount, but we’re also going to systematically go back” and recanvass. That could change if a systematic error was discovered, he said, adding he thought that was unlikely.

What’s that? Secretary of State Sam Reed says King County can re-examine rejected ballots if a problem is brought to their attention? Well then, what the hell are we doing wasting our time in the courts? I’ll give you a systematic error… King has systematically disenfranchised hundreds of voters by anally holding to signature matching standards more stringent than any other county in the state! Hell, some counties didn’t even bother checking signatures!

We all know King County is the prize, and at least within the context of their lawsuit, the Democrats did the right thing in asking that the recanvass be statewide. But as far as I’m concerned, screw the courts. The party needs to play hardball with the Dems on the King County canvassing board, and get them to reexamine the rejected ballots. After all, Sam Reed has given his blessing.

In fact, this wouldn’t really be “recanvassing” at all. In most counties, the final decision to reject a ballot was made by the canvassing board — but not in King, where the decision to disenfranchise a voter was left to sub-canvass election workers. The canvass board has never even seen these ballots. I think it’s time they take a look.


  1. 1

    Rae spews:

    Yesterday morning, Dave Ross and his assistant, called every county and every one, that would be ALL of them, affirmed that they do check signatures. So the Dems need to stop that allegation.

  2. 2

    bj spews:

    “… some counties didn’t even bother checking signatures!”

    Chris G. made this assertion on the Dave Ross show yesterday a.m., so he and his staff called every county and asked. He reached all but two, and they all said that they HAD checked signatures.

    So what’s the basis for the claim that signatures hadn’t been checked?

  3. 3

    Goldy spews:

    The basis is of this claim is explained in the Democratic brief, which I posted online for everybody to read. Several staff members called every single auditor and asked them what their procedures were… their answers are recorded in the Jungman Exhibit, filed with the brief.

    So Rae, if you’re so quick to say the Dems ought to stop making this allegation, I suppose you also think the R’s should stop making the allegation about the SOS memo, that they say represents Gregoire’s opinion from 1996, without any evidence whatsoever?

  4. 4

    Bob from Boeing spews:

    One of the basis is a face to face TV King 5 inteview with an election official, woman, in one of the counties who said openly and totally frankly that they did not bother to check signatures, ran last week, Wed perhaps. Late afternoon.

    In the lawsuit filed by dems, there is an exhibit which is a response by each county to that question. In that pleading there are three counties that said they do not check signatures. Walla Walla the largest. Many othr counties said yes, they check them, but they almost always match, completely unlike King County where thousands are not OK.

    At this junction people answering phones at ballot offices are being very cagey about what they say to anyone. Now, hot button issue. Maybe jobs at stake, etc.

  5. 5

    Chuck spews:

    One of the basis is a face to face TV King 5 inteview with an election official, woman, in one of the counties who said openly and totally frankly that they did not bother to check signatures, ran last week, Wed perhaps.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Is my point made yet? A handcount cannot be trusted because of the human factor. It will be less accurate. Site any studies you want to the people factor will screw the vote up. They obviously cannot even be uniform on whether they checked signatures on the ballots.

  6. 6

    Chuck spews:

    At this junction people answering phones at ballot offices are being very cagey about what they say to anyone. Now, hot button issue. Maybe jobs at stake, etc.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Sound like someone that is going to give an accurate count????

  7. 7

    Bob from Boeing spews:

    Chuck – get factual. Conjecture out the window…….FACT, Mason county just found 21 votes in the hand recount. Big error margin in a county with slightly more than 20,000 vots. Hand count more accurate, your theory about the wonder machines, relative accuracy compared to hand counts, is sheer useless bunk.

  8. 9

    Bob from Boeing spews:

    THIRD COUNTY- Skamania, Rossi plus 3, Gregoire plus 1 – Skamania is a poor small county on the Columbia R. toward Portland. All trees and no business, or revenue. Poverty reigns.

  9. 10

    Goldy spews:

    Question is though did they find 21 votes or count wrong…

    I believe these are existing ballots that had been counted wrong. Most likely due to partially punched out chads. The state standard is two or more corners must be detached to count.

    Like I’ve said before, most of the “new votes” will come from eliminating the “under vote” on ballots where voter intent is easily discernible to the human eye, but not to the machine. And there will be a much higher “error” rate in the punch card counties…. which mostly went for Rossi.

    My guess is, there will be a few hundred “new” votes show up statewide.

    Oh… and one more comment. These new numbers do not reflect the actually number of ballots whose results have changed… they reflect the per county totals. In reality, many more ballots are flipping on the recount, but since errors are randomly distributed, they cancel each other out.

  10. 11

    Chuck spews:

    There is no under vote or over vote, their is only voters failure to pay attention as well as follow directions.

  11. 12

    Goldy spews:

    There is no under vote or over vote, their is only voters failure to pay attention as well as follow directions.

    That is simply not true. The literature shows that punch card ballots have twice the “residual vote rate” as optical scan or hand-counted paper ballots — 1 additional lost vote in 100 — and this difference is clearly attributable to differences in the vote casting technology. Chads do not always completely detach. You can stick the stylus all the through, but not fully detach all four corners; undetached chads can and do fold back into place, thus even a visual examination by the voter for hanging chads may not reveal the error… especially since voters cannot be expected to be experts at examining punch card ballots.

  12. 13

    Chuck spews:

    I could tell a non detached vote WITHOUT my glasses, furthermore if a persons eyesight is that bad then they may need to ask for a ballot in braille (available upon request)

  13. 15

    jcricket spews:

    Chuck – Now you’re grasping at straws and offering specious reasoning. We don’t care whether or not your vote is always perfectly processed. The issue is not (generally) a matter of the person intentionally making a mistake or being “too stupid” to follow directions.

    The fact that you are completely unable to dispute is that (as Goldy has very rightly pointed out) that study after study proves that under- and over-votes are not primarily matters of stupid or inattentive voters. There are deficiences with every type of voting and vote counting technology that regularly result in voters’ ballot being non-readable or non-counted. Since voting is a fundemental right, state after state has deemed it appropriate to make it clear that overly rigid and simplistic rules are not applicable.

    That’s why there are laws in almost every state clearly stating that simple machine errors, use of the wrong pen, stray marks, folded ballots, differences card stock, etc. cannot not be used to discount a person’s vote. In fact, most of those laws go so far as to say if the voter’s intent is clear, then no technicality will be used to disenfranchise that person.

  14. 16

    jcricket spews:

    Here’s an example from the PI:

    “[Reinspection] of the 19 legal ballots revealed voter intent that had not been picked up by machines. In most cases, the canvassing board discovered partially detached chads in the punch-card ballots and counted the votes, Sykora said. Three other ballots had been legally corrected by the voter.”

    So Chuck believes that even if people _do_ follow the directions and correct their votes, if the machine throws it out or miscounts it, that’s all that matters. Nice.

    Just to be clear – I certainly think there’s room for improving voting and vote counting technology to help voters get closer to 100% assurance their vote will be counted the way it was intended to be. But in dealing with what we have, be it punch cards, optical scan ballots, touch screens, etc. we need to acknowledge that a person’s intent is more important than mere technical compliance.

  15. 17

    Chuck spews:

    we need to acknowledge that a person’s intent is more important than mere technical compliance.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    It would also be nice not to exclude habitual drunkards and criminals from carrying a firearm, the 2nd amendment doesnt exclude these people…but reality says it wont happen, so why can you place a vote while your head is up your ass and be assured that someone will determine your “intent”

  16. 18

    Bob from Boeing spews:

    Goldy and others- Need to look at the Order for Manual
    Recount- Dec. 6, issued by Sam Reed Sec of State. Wording in two places- ” all ballots in all counties”….and…”all votes cast for Gov.”….

    Issued after the lawsuit. Seems to me the words- all ballots- and -all votes- support the Dems. How tangled and interesting.

  17. 19

    Mark spews:

    I think we need to shit-can these punch ballots. They are antiquicated and maybe we should go to the touch screens. Dino or Crissy, at least then there wouldn’t be all this BS about “chads”. Either that, or some folks are just plain stupid, and can’t figure out how to do it correctly. Ho-hum.

  18. 23

    Bob from Boeing spews:

    SEVENTH COUNTY, Jefferson , Rosi plus 8 and Gregoine plus 12. Medium size county, Mr C says well run at the court house, thanks Jefferson

  19. 24

    jcricket spews:

    Mark – I think touch screens do have a lot of advantages. The unfortunate disadvantage of any software based system is that software is vulnerable to hacking, hardware failures (undetectable glitches) and software programming faults (bugs).

    I totally favor the intelligent use of technology to get us out of this mess of a voting system. There should be one nation-wide voting system based on a secure (verified by lots of smart people) open-source platform, with a voter and third-party verifiable audit trail. With voting so vitally important, it seems amazing we’re willing to leave it to “the highest bidder”.

  20. 25

    jcricket spews:

    Forgot to add – voting should be run like banking/financial systems. There are lots of good security controls, plus multiple ways to perform internal, external and end-user audits. Doesn’t seem like voting should have any less scrutiny.

  21. 28

    Bob from Boeing spews:

    GRAYS HARBOr – Gregoire up 10 and Rossi up 8- 9th county – this far Rossi lead is increased net 1 vote

  22. 29

    Mr. Cynical-dy spews:

    It will be fun to openly debate what has happened here AFTER the hand recount is certified. Being an oberver has taught me a lot. Unfortunately, we are currently in the midst of a battle for the Governor’s seat. Both sides have people with a broad range of expertise. In the end, the Supreme Court will be the ultimate arbiter.
    ‘nuf said fer now!

  23. 30

    ED spews:

    Went to that other site, what of bunch of losers. Wondering about Federal Court, as if Jeb Bush was Gov. of Washington.

    All about King, Gregoire holding well in Rossi Counties, 900,000 ballots in King, breaking for Gregoire, how much errot to wipe out a small Rossi lead? The questioon of the day. Great site.

  24. 31

    Jim King spews:

    Interesting… in that article we get the information that the student in the Dems lawsuit, who thought she was registered but was not, was a victim of Gary Locke’s Department of Licensing. Now- semi-specious question, but: Which is worse- partisan hack not turning in voter registrations, or incompetent bureaucracy not bothering to get the job done? Third-party registration is obviously a problem, as we expand opportunity to register, we also bring into the system more people who really don’t care about taking appropriate care that the process is well-run.

    Now- how many examples are there out there like that? And at what point do we acknowledge that when it gets this close, its a crap-shoot? And Josef, love you dearly, but a run-off is not the answer because it still begs the question of what do you do if the run-off (or a regular, but only two candidate, election) ends up this close?

    At some point we have to accept that perfect accuracy is an unobtainable Holy Grail, and the most important thing is legitimacy- the election, if imperfect, was run fairly and that the odds are good that the mistakes broke evenly. We have accepted that in the past.

  25. 32

    Mr. Cynical-dy spews:

    Well said Jim–
    Goldy must be a tough guy for someone to live with. I’ll bet the toilet in his house could never be clean enough to satisfy him!!! His “neo-Leftist” perfectionism is exciting yet unanticipated since he & his comrades generally consider our children should worry about right & wrong answers…that what is close enough AND that it doesn’t matter who wins or loses (as long as it’s Goldy’s ilk that wins!!!)
    Now c’mon Goldy..let’s laugh a little!!! Don’t be oh so serious and oh so self-righteous for 24 hours.

  26. 33

    Jim King spews:

    C’mon Cynical- the neo-cons are no better- I find them worse because they become an embarrassment to the GOP, and to REAL neo-cons like Jeanne Kirkpatrick. These poseurs forget that the real neo-cons were the heirs of our own Scoop Jackson, and were cold war hawks on foreign policy, but Roosevelt-Kennedy (FD, JF) liberals on domestic policy. Some never broke with the Democratic Party, preferring to maintain their support of a social polity and fighting the losing battle for a strong national defense from within their party.

    But true neo-cons never saw the person of color as the threat- they were focused on the -sky’s of the world, and brought us great victory.

    And I’ll take Goldy’s sense of humor anyday- he’s laughing all through this, while the Snark can’t figure out how to get down off a high horse without his camera being broken…

  27. 34


    The REAL reason why Munro wants a new election

    While we here at Progressive Majority’s Washington state office have been watching the Governor’s race like everyone else, we’ve left the blogging on it to our friends at,