Task Force recommends election reforms

The Independent Task Force on Elections that Ron Sims formed in the wake of the disputed 2004 election has released its recommendations. I haven’t seen a copy of the full report yet, but judging from the media reports (P-I, Times) it is hard to argue with most of the proposed reforms.


  • Hire and work with an independent, external “turnaround team” to resolve leadership, organizational culture, policy and operational problems that confront the King County elections office.
  • A separately elected official with primary responsibility for elections will increase accountability to citizens, the task force believes.

  • Institute vote-by-mail and regional voting centers in 2006; place two election observers at or adjacent to counting stations during recounts.

  • Change the primary date to the first Tuesday of June.
  • Automatically restore voting rights to former felons upon release from prison.
  • Conduct only one manual recount when a recount is necessary.
  • Require election officials to receive all ballots by 8 p.m. election night, except those of military and out-of-state voters.
  • Limit the number of elections each year six to four.

Of course, the recommendation getting the biggest headline is that of hiring an outside team of management experts to quickly turnaround the elections division’s “seriously flawed organizational culture.” Sims released a statement in which he said he would “enthusiastically embrace” the “SWAT Team” proposal… which does not necessarily call for the firing of Dean Logan. According to task force chairwoman Cheryl Scott, Logan’s tenure is “between him and the county executive,” and Sims spokesman Sandeep Kaushik said there are no plans to force out Logan.

“It’s up to Dean,” Kaushik said. “He’s been in a tough spot. I think as long as he has the determination to carry on and right the ship, then we would like to help him in any way we can to do that.”

As many of you know, I have spent many pixels defending Logan and his department from what I believed to be unfair, dishonest and politically partisan attacks. I have talked to a number of county auditors (R and D) and other elections officials from across the state, and all expressed great respect and admiration for Logan. Not a single person who has worked with him questioned his honesty and integrity, and he was clearly hired for the job because nobody in the state had more expertise in elections procedures than him.

Whether Logan lacks the management skills to successfully run such a large and complex bureaucracy as KC Elections is another question, which if I were Sims, I would leave to the management experts on the SWAT Team to answer. One thing I do know is that Republican charges of a corrupt department that fraudulently stole the election from Dino Rossi, were proven entirely baseless in a court of law.

The task force was split on whether King County should elect an auditor like all of the other counties in the state… and so am I. Some members said an elected auditor would make the office more accountable to voters, while others pointed out that doing so does not guarantee electing a good manager. While such a move is certainly not an immediate solution, there are good arguments on both sides. Considering the highly charged partisan atmosphere surrounding elections at the moment, I would hope that the county waits a little while before addressing this issue.

As to the other recommendations, I could easily accept them all as a package.

Moving the primary to June (or at the very least, August) is a no-brainer that was the number one reform requested by every auditor in the state plus Sec. of State Sam Reed. Both parties deserve a slap on the nose for failing to include this in the election reform package that passed during the last session. If the R’s really care about assuring that overseas military ballots go out on time, they should stop their obstructionist tactics on this issue.

Automatically restoring the voting rights of felons upon release from prison is also a procedural no brainer. Unless somebody can prove that there is some societal gain from denying felons the franchise — and I would argue the opposite — there is absolutely no justification for adding this procedural layer of complexity to our system. In the end, the task force made a cost-benefit analysis; if there are any benefits from denying felons the right to vote, it certainly does not justify the costs.

Republicans claim that this is a Democrat plot to create more Democrat voters… to which I respond “bullshit” and “who cares?” There is absolutely no direct evidence that felons tend to vote Democrat, and that argument is particularly irrational in WA state where the vast majority of felons are white, working-class men… the core Republican demographic. But felon demographics is entirely besides the point; African Americans tend to overwhelmingly vote Democrat, and no Republican would seriously suggest denying them the franchise.

As to conducting a single, manual recount when a recount is necessary… well… I hadn’t thought about that before. Yeah… I suppose I could go for that. The manual recount turned out to be a model of bipartisan cooperation, and an extraordinarily open and transparent process. From a public trust perspective it would have eliminated the bullshit “two out of three” argument the Rossi folks used. My only concern is that manual recounts are burdensome and expensive, and this reform would result in a few more of them.

The one recommendation with which I’m least comfortable is making election night the deadline for receiving ballots. While I’m sure it would simplify the process, I’d have to have a better idea of how many ballots might be disqualified by such a move, before I could voice an opinion.

In the end, simplifying the process is the theme of most of the recommendations, not the least of which being the most significant one: moving to an all mail-in election by 2006. As I’ve previously written, I don’t like mail-in voting, but the die was cast when we liberalized it a few years back. Voters overwhelmingly avoid the polling place, and it simply doesn’t make sense to support two entirely different voting systems. Yes, King and other counties had problems with mail-in ballots, but by eliminating the much more complicated poll voting, it will permit the elections division to focus on fixing and perfecting their mail-in ballot operations. This is common sense.

In the last election, 70 percent of voters voted by mail… in some counties as high as 86 percent. The market has spoken, and critics of mail-in voting on both the right and the left need to accept the will of the people and work to make mail-in procedures as secure and reliable as possible. Critics, like our good friend Stefan, argue that moving to all-mail voting would only further undermine public trust and confidence… but that’s a load of crap. The best way to restore public trust in elections is to conduct them smoothly and accurately, and the easiest, quickest path towards that end is to eliminate unnecessary complexity from the process.

I personally will miss the polling place, and regret that we as a state ever strayed down the path towards all-mail elections. But here we are, and there’s no turning back, and I’m pragmatic enough to reluctantly accept it. To stick King County with a burdensome, expensive, untenable dual system, while the rest of the state goes all-mail, is to assure that KC elections will be the whipping boy in all future close elections. Perhaps that works politically for Republicans seeking a campaign issue to help them overcome their numerical disadvantage in King County, but it just isn’t good public policy.

So all in all, it looks like the task force has made some very practical recommendations. I’m sure there is more fodder for partisan sniping in the full report, but I’ll get to that when I see it.


  1. 1

    Mark spews:

    Goldy: “Automatically restoring the voting rights of felons upon release from prison is also a procedural no brainer…”

    It is a “no brainer” in that anyone that would suggest it has no brains. Note that the corrections folks talk about restoration at the end of the sentence, which includes parole and related issues such as the payment of restitution. If the right to vote is so precious for these felons, maybe they’ll make a bit of effort to pay restitution to their victims.

    Right now, the Crime Victims’ Compensation program has a hard enough time getting these criminals to pay for their misdeeds. Victims are left with an ever-shrinking list of medical facilities that receive their underpayments from a program that would fail if it didn’t get taxpayer money.

  2. 2

    Goldy spews:

    Show me the evidence, Mark. Show me the evidence that denying the franchise encourages former felons to pay fines or restitution.

    You don’t want felons to vote, that’s clear enough, for whatever reasons. But show me the evidence that denying them the right to vote has any societal benefit. Show me that it is worth the money we need to invest in keeping them off the rolls.

  3. 3

    Brent spews:

    It’s not about leverage. It’s about RIGHTS. To those who felons committed crimes against, is it really fair to restore full rights when all phases of a sentence are incomplete?

    Restoring rights before all phases are complete is the equivalent to telling felons, “well, you’re close enough, the rest just isn’t that important.”

    Is that a message we want to send?

  4. 4

    windie spews:

    I thought those rights were ‘Inalienable’…

    Disenfranchising felons never made sense to me, actually.

    What Brent said was absolutely right. it is about RIGHTS. And didn’t we decide that voting was a ‘right’ not a ‘privilage’?

    Its not like you’re taking away someones drivers liscence here…

  5. 5

    RonK, Seattle spews:

    Why disenfranchise felons at all?

    Nobody seriously argues that disenfranchisement has more than ZERO deterrent effect on crime, and it leaves society holding the bag of apparently intractible recordkeeping problems (as this recent recount experience highlighted). It’s no earthly use to anyone, so give it up!

    The constitutional orgins of disenfranchisement date to pre-Revolutionary culture, in which the voting franchise was narrowly restricted (to white males, to landed gentry, and often to members in good standing of certain established churches). The franchise was closely held by the “in crowd”, and it was one of several honors and privileges you stood to lose if you fell irretrievably out of good social standing. In today’s world … not so much.

  6. 6

    Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 2: “You don’t want felons to vote, that’s clear enough, for whatever reasons.”

    Whatever reasons? How about the fact that these folks are defective (to varying degrees)? If Dick and/or Jane can’t play nice with the rest of the kids, they get a timeout and don’t get to go on the zoo fieldtrip.

    As for whether or not it is effective, I have been told by someone who works with CVC that it IS effective in some cases. Much beyond that, I can’t say because I’ve been asked not to drag their name into the blogosphere.

    Brent @ 3 is correct in asking if we really want to send a message of “close enough.”

    My question to you, Goldy, is whether the rights of the criminal outweight the rights of the victim. Which is more important, the right of victims to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” or the right of criminals to vote? Bear in mind that the criminals, through their actions, WAIVED their rights to certain societal benefits.

  7. 7

    Mark spews:

    RonK @ 5: “Why disenfranchise felons at all? Nobody seriously argues that disenfranchisement has more than ZERO deterrent effect on crime…”

    If you want to help make the rules, you have to be willing and/or able to follow them.

    As for deterrent, maybe there is no effect, but if it has no value, why does anyone care? And for those that do care, it DOES have some value in getting these criminals to “make things right” and show they deserve to be part of society.

  8. 8

    pbj spews:

    Another softball for the corrupt Democrats by one of their contributor – Cheryl Scott.

    We all know Democrats cheat at elections, whether it is the legendary election theft of the Chicago machine or the more recent 2004 convictions of Democrats for vote fraud , the only difference is that the machine in this state is better at their craft than they apparently are in other places.

  9. 9

    Janet S spews:

    I don’t see two major problems addressed:

    1. Proving identity at the time of voting, or at the time of reigstering, or at the time of requesting an absentee ballot. This includes proving that one is a citizen.

    2. Fixing the problem of multiple ballots going to one voter. The current voter rolls are a mess. Nothing here addresses that problem.

    I don’t care if felons have the right to vote or not, but it sure doesn’t seem to be that important of an issue. I’m more concerned about the rampant voter fraud of people voting who aren’t citizens and/or not residents of the state.

  10. 10

    Mark spews:


    The Dems have something (admittedly, in their past) that the GOP doesn’t. Two words: Tammany Hall

    That isn’t to say that they don’t use any of Tammany’s methods nowadays.

  11. 11

    Brent spews:

    Critics, like our good friend Stefan, argue that moving to all-mail voting would only further undermine public trust and confidence… but that’s a load of crap. The best way to restore public trust in elections is to conduct them smoothly and accurately, and the easiest, quickest path towards that end is to eliminate unnecessary complexity from the process.

    I agree with the concept of removing complexity, but I cannot fathom how increasing the quantity of absentees fixes the problem when they were the primary root of the entire problem to start off!

    Increasing volume on an already flawed system doesn’t fix it, just as Mr. Sims idea to build an expensive facility doesn’t solve problems. Proper accounting and tracking (there’s plenty of software out there capable of doing so) can eliminate these problems for a fraction of the cost.

  12. 12

    Mark spews:

    Another bit of history showing how Dems have used the right to vote as a means of gaining power:

    It is interesting to note, that the only reason Democrats wanted women to have the vote was to offset the new voting rights of African-Americans, who they believed tended to vote Republican. The Democrats of Wyoming, the first state to grant suffrage, expected that wives would vote with their husbands. When the women ended up voting Republican, the Democrat-controlled Wyoming Legislature tried to revoke women’s suffrage, but the Republican Governor vetoed it.

  13. 13

    RonK, Seattle spews:

    Mark @ 7 — “if it has no value, why does anyone care?”

    Because we’re not any good at enforcing this sanction, anywhere in the state, and strict enforcement would cost us several million dollars per election. So we make a mockery of the law, at considerable cost to society, and this is good for non-felons … how, exactly?

    You may get some internal, emotional satisfaction from thinking you’ve kept bad people from making the rules, so how ’bout we just let ‘em all vote, but don’t tell you? You’ll still be just as happy, and we’ll save millions.

  14. 14

    Goldy spews:

    Mark @6,

    Well then… why bother letting felons out at all? Why not, “one strike and your out”…? Or better yet, let’s just execute them. They’re “defective” anyway, so who needs ‘em?

    There are studies that show that ex-felons who vote have lower recidivism rates, but even if that weren’t true, and even if there was some tiny impulse of deterrence, or impetus to paying one’s fines, the question is, is this kind of lifelong punishment worth the burden on our electoral systems to enforce?

    Mark @12

    What the fuck?! That shit again? You can’t compare the parties of a hundred years ago to the parties of today… on civil rights they switched roles in sixties with the passage of civil rights legislation… indeed, the only reason the GOP gained national dominance is because the Dems lost the support of southern whites.

    If you believe the GOP is still “the party of Lincoln” and the Dems the party slavery and apartheid, it’s not even worth debating you.

  15. 15

    Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 14: “What the fuck?! That shit again?”

    Tee-hee-hee… :)

    Now you know how anyone to the right of Kucinich feels about many of your posts!

    OK, so I was a bad boy. Just trying to get a rise out of the Lefties here. Didn’t expect to land the “big fish!” :)

  16. 16

    NoWonder spews:

    RonK @ 13

    ’so how bout we just let ‘em all vote, but don’t tell you?’

    That is pretty much what happened in the last election.

  17. 17

    Gary spews:

    Hey HorsesAss: The charges of corruption, fraud and a stolen election were not “proven baseless”. There is simply no way to succesfully challenge an election under current law. The evidence of fraud is overwhelming even if it was not admissable under current law. We can be sure that as long as the democRATS are in charge there will be no effective changes, only window dressing like this action by the task force.

  18. 18

    Mark spews:

    Now, on to more serious discussions…

    RonK @ 13: “strict enforcement would cost us several million dollars per election”

    So, how would you feel about putting all of those saved millions right into the Crime Victims’ Compensation program?

    Goldy @ 14: “[W]hy bother letting felons out at all? …let’s just execute them. They’re ‘defective’ anyway, so who needs ‘em?”

    Some of them… serial child molesters, etc… OK, I’ll go along with your idea to keep ‘em locked up for a good long time. Some of the others… I would say that SOME of the “defects” can be corrected and once that has happened, they can be welcomed back into society with most of their rights (minus gun ownership, etc.).

  19. 19

    Jimmynap spews:

    Goldy @ 14, I digress here but…..

    I grew up in a very political, very democrat family. Funny you mention the “Party of Lincoln”. Up until Jr. High School I thought Lincoln was a Democrat. After all, what we learned about his principles parralleled everything I heard growing up about civil/womens rights etc… When I was informed he was a Republican I was in a state of shock and disbelief. Funny huh….

  20. 20

    pbj spews:

    There is absolutely no direct evidence that felons tend to vote Democrat, and that argument is particularly irrational in WA state where the vast majority of felons are white, working-class men… the core Republican demographic.

    Bullshit! Show me your evidence of this.

  21. 23

    thomas spews:

    another sign of desparation, felons voting, but no wait, why stop there, why not illegal aliens, heck why not foreign nationals, heck why not penguins….nah, that would silly.

  22. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Mark @ 1

    “corrections folks talk about restoration at the end of the sentence, which includes parole and related issues such as the payment of restitution”

    No, Mark. You misstated the American Correctional Association’s position, which is (verbatim):

    “The American Correctional Association affirms that voting is a fundamental right in a democracy and it considers a ban on voting after a felon is discharged from correctional supervision to be contradictory to the goals of a democracy, the rehabilitation of felons and their successful reentry to the community.

    “Therefore, ACA advocates:

    “. Restoring voting rights for felony offenders once they have been discharged from incarceration or parole; …”

    Nothing in there about conditioning voting rights until restitution is paid, and in fact, it’s impossible to reconcile that with the above statement.

  23. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    pbj @ 8

    “We all know Democrats cheat at elections”

    No pbj, we don’t all know that. I’m pretty sure we all know the right wing propaganda machine loves to accuse Democrats of election fraud — and loves to pretend that Republicans don’t cheat.

    As Goldy pointed out, Washington State Republicans bandied around plenty of fraud claims after the 2004 governor’s election — not one of which the best lawyers money can buy were able to sell to a Republican judge in a Republican county.

    Which convinces me the Republicans were bullshitting. So are you.

  24. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Goldy, I support the idea of an elected auditor in King County. All 38 other counties have elected auditors. Why should King County be an exception?

    The elected auditor doesn’t have to be a management expert — he or she can HIRE a management expert. The auditor’s function is to be accountable to the voters for what happens. And if the voters get to choose the person running King County elections, they’re more likely to have confidence in the process and be less receptive to those eager to demagogue the problems that occur.

  25. 28

    JC Bob spews:

    So Goldy wants people who have demonstrated that they don’t give a whit about the rules of society; to help make the rules that we are supposed to live by. Isn’t that what electing Congressmen and Legislator is all about?

    Just MORE PROOF that Liberals are soft on crime and criminals. You do call yourself a Liberal; don’t you Goldy?

  26. 29

    JC Bob spews:

    Roger @ 26

    Can you explain to us non-believer:

    1. Why King County cannot come ever close to reconciling the polling place and mail ballot vote?

    2. Why King County allows election officials to falsify election reports so that the Canvassing Board does NOT know they have work to do.

    3. Why King County has felons and other ineligible voters registered to vote.

    4. Why King County, cannot count all the mail ballots it receives.

    5. Why King County does not know how many mail ballots it received.

    6. Why a few precincts have ten to twenty times the average number of mail ballot reconciliation errors.

  27. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Item 1. Republicans tried and failed to get the Legislature to pass a law requiring a photo ID to vote. Now Sam Reed is trying to amend the WAC rules to require a photo ID! Reed’s proposed amendment to WAC 434-253-055 reads:

    “WAC 434-253-055 Identification. A voter must provide photo identification to the precinct election officer before signing the poll book.”

    (For the complete amendment, see http://www1.leg.wa.gov/documen.....14-172.htm)

    Item 2. The Legislature also refused to pass a ban against parties examining polls books at polling places to see who hasn’t voted yet, for GOTV (get out the vote) purposes. So, Sam is to trying to impose such a ban himself, by amending WAC 434-253-010 as follows:

    “WAC 434-253-010 Polling place — Activities prohibited ((within the polling place)). The county auditor shall ensure that all precinct election officers receive instruction regarding activities that are not permitted within the polling place, including electioneering, circulation of campaign material, soliciting petition signatures, ((or)) impeding the voting process, or get-out-the-vote campaigns based on information in the poll books regarding which voters have or have not voted. Whenever it is necessary to maintain order within the polling place and the surrounding environs, the inspector may, if circumstances warrant and if the means to do so are available, contact the county auditor, who shall determine the corrective action required. Such corrective action may include contacting a law enforcement agency for their assistance.” (http://www1.leg.wa.gov/documen.....14-172.htm)

    Obviously, it’s a serious matter when the Secretary of State overrides the Legislature by taking the law into his own hands! But there is still time to stop Reed’s extralegal actions. Currently, these rules are in the proposal stage, and the Secretary of State’s office is accepting public comments through August 8, and a public hearing will be held on August 9.

    To submit a comment, write to Katie Blinn, P.O. Box 40220, Olympia, WA 98504-0220, kblinn@sec.state.wa.gov, fax (360) 586-5629.

    If you can attend the public hearing, go to Office of the Secretary of State, Conference Room, 520 East Union, Olympia, at 9 a.m. on August 9.


  28. 31

    Aexia spews:

    I’m more concerned about the rampant voter fraud of people voting who aren’t citizens and/or not residents of the state.

    Rampant voter fraud? How many non-residents/non-citizens got turned up last election? Less than a dozen? People do need some perspective about the “rampant” problems. A couple thousand disputed votes statewide out of about 1.8 million cast? There are more pressing problems with the elections system than spending tons of money chasing down every single last illegal voter. I don’t think people realize how much time, money and effort was necessary(on both sides) to find the felons during the trial.

  29. 32

    JC Bob spews:

    Roger @ 30

    But Roger, why are the Dems so afraid of asking a voter to identiy him/her self?

    Yah, I know. It is a pain in the posterior to have to get that phony ID.

  30. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 29

    The short answer to all your questions, Bob, is that you’re full of shit!

    1. How do you know King County will never reconcile the ballots? Do you have a crystal ball? (If you do, I want to ask you some questions about certain stocks I’m interested in.) The reasons why King County didn’t reconcile the ballots in the last election are (a) it wasn’t legally required, and (b) King County had no system in place for doing so.

    2. King County didn’t allow anybody to falsify anything. The employees who prepared the report I assume you are referring to, did so on their own, without their superiors knowing they did not follow proper procedures, and if I recall correctly, when management found out about it, management suspended the employees and initiated an investigation. So how does that constitute “allowing” the employees to fill out the report in that manner?

    3. For the same reasons other Washington counties have felons and ineligible voting. First of all, some felons are eligible to vote. Second, the laws in effect during the last election on felon voting were so confusing that many inadvertent mistakes were made, not only by felons but also by parole officers and election workers; and this confusion was aggravated by the lack of a statewide database of ineligible felons. As for other “illegal voters,” they fall in several categories — noncitizens, dead voters, etc. There is no evidence of widespread illegal voting. It is beyond question that isolated incidents of illegal voting occurred. This is primarily the fault of the individuals who voted illegally. Washington has thousands of precinct polling stations staffed by (mostly elderly) volunteers, and county election workers have to process millions of ballots within a few days — these folks can’t be expected to spot every illegal vote! By the way, after the GOP spent $2 million on legal fees (paid to our state’s best lawyers), a Republican judge in a Republican county concluded from the evidence in front of him that Dino Rossi received 4 illegal votes, Christine Gregoire 0 illegal votes. Of the 8 or so “dead” votes cast statewide, we know who only 1 of those votes was for — and that illegal vote was cast for Dino Rossi. So, to the extent cheating was proved in the $4 million election contest trial, ALL of the illegal voting was for the Republican candidate. This fact possibly goes slightly beyond the scope of your question, but I just thought I’d mention it.

    4. Because it misplaced some of them. King County wasn’t the only county that misplaced ballots; Whatcom County eventually found 5 unopened absentee ballots.

    5. Because the only way to know how many ballots a county received is to count ‘em, and if the county misplaces even 1 ballot, then the count is not accurate and the county doesn’t know how many ballots it received, does it?

    6. Dunno … maybe because the people running the precinct are incompetent, ya think?

  31. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 32

    How do you manage to be so consistently full of shit? Did you take a night school course in it? What do they call that course, Introduction to Wingnut Talking Points?

    To answer your question, the Democratic-controlled 2005 Legislature passed a voter ID bill. It’s just not the one that right wingers in the GOP wanted, that’s all. The reason the Democratic-controlled 2005 Legislature refused to enact that one is because Democrats are not interested in assisting Republicans in keeping eligible Democratic voters from voting.

    The photo ID law is a solution for a non-problem, pal. There is no evidence 1 single illegal vote was cast in Washington State that a photo ID law would have prevented. Most, if not all, of the illegal votes discovered after the 2004 election were absentee ballots. A photo ID law does nothing to prevent illegal absentee votes. Furthermore, as you point out, it’s easy to fake a photo ID. It’s probably easier to get a fake photo ID than it is to get a copy of the real voter’s utility bill, which, as voting ID, is at least as good as any photo ID. But why require a photo ID in the first place when it doesn’t prevent illegal voting? What it does prevent is some eligible voters from voting. Not everyone drives, you know. For example, elderly people confined to nursing homes not only don’t have driver’s licenses or any need for a photo ID but they have no way to get a photo ID. People like you would keep them from voting in the name of preventing “fraud” that doesn’t exist. Screw you! I have a better idea — let’s make everyone in Bellevue bring proof of citizenship to the polls. Make ‘em prove they’re Americans. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who votes for George W. Bush is anti-America.

    And where does Sam Reed get off, using the rulemaking process to enact something the Legislature rejected? I guarantee it’ll be struck down by the courts as ultra vires. (If you don’t know what that means, go to a library and ask the reference librarian for Black’s Law Dictionary.)

  32. 35

    JC Bob spews:

    Roger @ 33

    Why when challenged do Liberals almost universally resort to personal attack?

    1. Your whole reply is a bunch of horse poo poo. Without reconcillation, we have no idea of how many times a voter cast a ballot. State law demands that the Canvassing Board investigate ever instance where the number of voters credited with voting does not match the number of ballots counted.

    2. Why did Way and Fell testify that they produced a mail ballot report when they had no idea of how many mail ballots were recieved?

    5. Why not?

    6. Mail ballots are NOT counted or reconciled at the precinct. They are counted and reconciled by the county elections department. Unless there is fraud or some other plausable explaination, the counting/reconcillation ERRORS should be uniformaly distributed. So far, we have no explaination, therefore fraud.

  33. 36

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 24: “ACA advocates: ‘Restoring voting rights for felony offenders once they have been discharged from incarceration or parole’

    Nothing in there about conditioning voting rights until restitution is paid, and in fact, it’s impossible to reconcile that with the above statement.”

    You mean other than the fact that restitution is PART OF parole in most states? See RCW 7.68.120(4) for WA.

  34. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 33

    When I said you’re full of shit, I wasn’t making a personal attack, I was merely stating a fact.

  35. 38

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 24

    Also… Take a look at RCW 9.94A.030, where you’ll see that “restitution” is defined as “damages” and RCW 9.94A.550, which makes it clear that fines are PART OF the sentence.

  36. 40

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 36

    In the first place, Mark, ACA’s policy isn’t written for Washingotn State. ACA is a national organization and their policies are intended to apply nationally. State laws vary.

    In the second place, Mark, you have misconstrued RCW 7.68.120(4). This section says NOTHING about restitution. It says:

    “Upon being placed on work release pursuant to chapter 72.65 RCW, or upon release from custody of a state correctional facility on parole, any convicted person who owes a debt to the department as a consequence of a criminal act may have the schedule or amount of payments therefor set as a condition of work release or parole by the department of social and health services or indeterminate sentence review board respectively, subject to modification based on change of circumstances. Such action shall be binding on the department.”

    What it’s talking about is reimbursing the state for benefits paid to the victim under the Crime Victims Compensation Act, not restitution to the victim. Not the same thing. Furthermore, you need to go back and look up what the definition of “is” is. Maybe you can get Bill C. to help you with that. The problem, you see, is that RCW 7.68.120(4) does NOT say that reimbursement (or “restitution,” for those who insist on mislabeling and mischaracterizing it) “is” a condition of parole. It says payments “may” be set as a condition of work release or parole. In law, “may” is permissive.

    You also conveniently ignored 7.68.120(5), which states:

    “Any requirement for payment due and owing the department by a convicted person under this chapter may be waived, modified downward or otherwise adjusted by the department in the interest of justice, the well-being of the victim, and the rehabilitation of the individual.”

    This provision clearly evinces a legislative intent to give the offender’s rehabilitation precedence over payment of reimbursement to DSHS. ACA supports restoring voting rights upon release from incarceration (NOT upon payment of any restitution, reimbursement, or judgments the offender may owe, as is clear from reading ACA’s explanation of their policy) because they believe it promotes rehabilitation and reduces recidivism. Withholding voting rights until satisfaction of financial obligations would be counterproductive to this goal, as many offenders do not have the ability to pay their court ordered financial obligations in full. Which is precisely why Washington law authorizes waiving financial obligations owed to the state!

  37. 41

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 38

    Go back and read the ACA policy again. It doesn’t say “sentence.” It says “correctional supervision.” Wait! Don’t take my word for it. Write to the ACA and ask them if it’s their policy to support restoration of voting rights only after they have paid all fines and restitution. I’m willing to abide by whatever they say. After all, it’s their policy, and they can speak for themselves better than I can. Or you can.

  38. 42

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 39

    OMIGOD!!! The evil bunny has been caught red-pawed in an act of disingenuity!!! I consider my paw slapped!!! Oww!!! That hurt!!! But it won’t stop me from doing it again because … well, because … I’m just a cute fluffy little bunny!!! I CAN’T HELP MYSELF!!! PLEASE STOP ME BEFORE I DISINGENUE AGAIN!!!

  39. 43

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Besides, Bob had it coming, because he IS full of shit!!! The guy comes on this blog and spouts GOP talking points — completed with unedited, unexpurgated, and disproven factual inaccuracies and frivolous allegations — thinking he’s gonna set up the Bunny with loaded questions and not get called on his bullshit! I don’t think so … I really shouldn’t have wasted my time on him … all of his talking points have been hashed and rehased on this blog countless times … but, you know, the guy made himself a target and I couldn’t resist.

  40. 44

    Mark spews:


    What’re you doing, channeling Al Haig??!!

    And when you’re not a “disingenue,” shall we presume that you’re an “ingenue?” :)

  41. 45

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 40

    Yes, I understand that the ACA policies are intended to be national. That actually supports more than undermines my assertion that restitution is a part of parole. For an overview, you might take a look at:
    http://www.nycagainstrape.org/.....et_77.html .

    I’m not saying they’re unbiased, but one would presume that their cited references lend a bit of credibility to their statement that “A vast majority of states allow courts to make payment of restitution a condition of probation and/or parole.”

    You are correct when it says “may” vs “is.” Would you agree with the statement that “IF restitution is ordered as part of the sentence or as a condition of parole, voting rights may be revoked until said restitution is paid?”

    Roger: “What it’s talking about is reimbursing the state for benefits paid to the victim under the Crime Victims Compensation Act, not restitution to the victim. Not the same thing.”

    Actually, CVC “fronts” the money for medical services to the victim for which the restitution is supposed to ultimately pay. And since CVC only pays discounted rates, the amount and quality of medical and mental health services to the victim are much less than what they’d get with cash in hand.

  42. 46

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 41: “Write to the ACA… I’m willing to abide by whatever they say.”

    OK. Will do. Will let you know what I hear back.

  43. 47

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    “If you want to help make the rules, you have to be willing and/or able to follow them.”

    Really? Republicans like to make rules for other people to follow.

  44. 49

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 30: “WAC 434-253-055 Identification. A voter must provide photo identification to the precinct election officer before signing the poll book.”

    SHAME! How about you print the entire text instead of doing selective and misleading editing??!! Here’s what it REALLY says:

    WAC 434-253-055 Identification. A voter must provide photo identification to the precinct election officer before signing the poll book. If the voter cannot provide photo identification, he or she may satisfy the requirements of RCW 29A.44.. . . (2005 c 243 s 7) by providing a voter registration card issued by the county auditor or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document. If the voter cannot provide any identification, the voter must be issued a provisional ballot rather than a regular ballot.” [emphasis mine]

  45. 51


    Listening to donks about election reform is a little like listening to an unemployed motivational speaker. It just doesn’t make sense.

  46. 52

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Roger Rabbit is like the guy who is always scratchin’ his ass in the dark…..HE knows what HE’s doing…….but NOBODY ELSE DOES!

  47. 53

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 47 & Me @ 45:

    Wow! I got a reply tonight! Here is the official word from the ACA:

    “The policy does not specifically address the issue of victim restitution, unless restitution is a condition of release.

    ACA supports victim restitution, and I believe that issue is referenced in a seperate policy, however the voting rights policy is silent as to whether or not restitution must be complete prior to an individual having the right to vote restored.”

    So, it looks like this one is a draw, Mr. Bunny.

  48. 54

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Spare us your feigned indignation! I posted, “For complete amendment, see … ” and provided the link. It was OBVIOUS I quoted an excerpt! And all anybody has to do is click on the link. How hard is that???

  49. 55

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 54

    I’d say you were trying to mislead those who didn’t want to slog through the entire WAC document. I realize you say, “for complete amendment,” but one could easily interpret that to mean “all the other changes.” Reed didn’t change the Legislature’s minimal standard of ID. He simply made the “default” ID request be photo ID. Why do you have a problem with that?

    Also, on the GOTV issue, I am admittedly guessing, but I can easily imagine a very simple reason not to disclose who hadn’t voted — to keep someone from voting in that person’s place. Or, if you want to head down the conspiracy road, to keep people from compiling lists of those who hadn’t voted and then making electoral mischief.

    If you read the whole document, it sounds like he’s closing loops, crossing T’s and dotting I’s more than anything. He wants to restore as much faith in elections as possible.

  50. 56

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    48 (cont’d)

    It’s standard practice to quote what you’re discussing, not the whole source. If you quote a sentence from Encyclopedia Britannica you don’t cut and paste the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, do you?

    No matter what the rest of the rule says, poll workers will read the word “must” to mean “must,” not “may.” If this rule is adopted, voters lacking photo ID will be turned away from polls, even though they have ID that satisfies the statute (and Reed’s rule). That’s exactly what Reed wants to happen.

    The Republicans couldn’t get photo ID through the Legislature, so Reed is catering to his party by misusing his rulemaking authority to end-run around the Legislature. It’s an abuse of power, and a misuse of his rulemaking authority. And it’s certain to be struck down by the courts.

    I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. AFter all, Reed is hardly a non-partisan elections administrator. He gleefully appeared at Rossi’s press conference with other GOP luminaries to demand a “revote” even though he knows perfectly well that state law doesn’t authorize revotes. So here you have the state’s chief election officer mocking the law and doing his damnedest to undermine public confidence in the election process he’s supposed to administer.

    Here is what the statute says:

    “Any person desiring to vote at any primary or election is required to provide identification to the election officer before signing the poll book. The identification required in this section can be satisfied by providing a valid photo identification, such as a driver’s license or state identification card, student identification card, or tribal identification card, a voter’s voter identification issued by a county elections officer, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check or other government document. Any individual who desires to vote in person but cannot provide identification as required by this section shall be issued a provisional ballot. The secretary of state may adopt rules to carry out this section.”

    Even if poll workers understood that in Reed’s rule “must” really means “may” — which they won’t — the rule gives preference to photo ID over other ID. Nothing in the statute authorizes that. It exceeds Reed’s authority.

    The solution is simple. All Reed has to do is write a rule that says, “A voter must provide either a valid photo identification, such as a driver’s license or state or tribal identification card, or a voter’s identification card issued by a county elections officer, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check or other government document.”

    What’s so hard about that? Reed has absolutely no business using the word “must” anywhere in the rule.

  51. 57

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Mainly ingenue. I channel Al Haig only for strategy when playing “Grand Theft Auto.”

  52. 58

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Draw? How so?

    You said “the corrections folks talk about restoration at the end of the sentence, which includes parole and related issues such as the payment of restitution.”

    Since ACA’s policy doesn’t address restitution one way or the other, it’s clear that you overreached.

    I was correct in stating that the ACA policy does not support your position. No “draw” about it.

  53. 59

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    51 & 52

    I could care less what you two think. I’m going to notify my representatives about Reed’s shenanigans. The Legislature’s Joint Administrative Rules Committee will make short work of this bullshit.

  54. 60


    Of course not..your a donk. Why would anybody expect anything less. Thats why when you spew your unsubstantiated charges about Ohio and Florida most people laugh. It is all bullshit. Just like this task farse on election reform.

  55. 61

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 58

    While their statement and subsequent comments do not explicitly support my position in EVERY instance, they DO say, “…unless restitution is a condition of release.” You also admit that the RCW’s say restitution MAY be a part of parole.

    Did I overreach by implying “every” case? OK. But they also didn’t explicitly say that restitution had NO bearing on voting rights. Remember, the comment was, “…unless restitution is a condition of release.”

    I read through a number of other research and position papers on their site and found that the ACA supports restitution to victims as a part of the rehabilitation process.

    At no point do they explicitly include or exclude restitution from the voting rights discussion.

  56. 62

    Puddybud spews:

    RUFUS: I hope the lefties are not reliving Ohio again? I know the lefties remember they control the Ohio city mayorships. I know the lefties remember they control the Ohio city councils. I know the lefties remember they control the polling workers lists. Then it has to be Ken Blackwell’s fault because ____________. You fill in the blank.

  57. 63

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 58

    Let me clarify my argument…

    ACA says, “…discharged from… parole” and later says, “…unless restitution is a condition of release.”

    Many states, to varying degrees, include restitution in parole.

    ACA doesn’t explicitly exclude restitution as a requirement for restoration of voting rights and, in fact, supports restitution in general.

    I admit it is an overreach to say they require restitution in every case, but it isn’t unreasonable to believe that restitution (as a condition of release) MAY be a valid reason in the ACA’s view to not restore voting rights immediately.

    I don’t say that felons shouldn’t EVER get their voting rights back. I simply have a problem with them getting back voting rights when their victims haven’t had their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness fully restored.

  58. 64



    Puddy- I will fill in the blank for you, because they lost by 120,000 votes which in reality was more like 130,000 to 140,000 votes.

  59. 66

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    I can’t find the materials you’re quoting from on the ACA web site. Could you possibly provide links?

  60. 67

    Puddybud spews:

    RR@65: Something is not right in that report. How can you sue the state for actions performed by the cities? Are you now saying that you want big brother state overseeing the county and city political machinery? RR you are saying that for a healthy election the state makes assignments?


  61. 68

    Mark1 spews:


    1. Put the Governor in office than the People actually voted in;
    2. Fire all of incompetent King County Election Board Officials;
    3. Give fat ass slob Washington State Dem. Party Chairman Paul Berendt a giant tissue to dry his eyes and face next time he turns into a pathetic, blithering, crybaby moron on national T.V.
    4. Inform King County that the are indeed NOT the center of the fucking universe.

  62. 70

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 68

    1. We already did.
    2. That’s being worked on.
    3. I have a better idea — give fat ass slob Mark1 and all the other GOP crybabies who are still bawling over (a) losing the election and (b) losing the lawsuit one (1) used giant kleenex — you assholes need it more than Berendt does. He’s quite happy now. You’re the ones who are bawling!
    4. King County may not be the center of the universe, but it’s the center of Washington State. It has a third of the state’s population and voters, and two-thirds of the state’s money, so if you think a couple dozen Freepers tucked away in a little town in Stevens County are going to run this state, you’re fucking crazy.

  63. 71

    righton spews:

    ah man, this is rich; gotta run, but goldy saying that felons should vote cuz its paperwork to deny them

    I:m game if you relax all the paperwork on hiring nannies or getting building permits; that is, if a lot of paperwork is a reason not to do something, bring it on…

    and by the way, the court never proved KCRE innocent; judge (one person by the way) heightened the standards above the statutue, thus making dem victory a no brainer. Once you had his rulings in place, a chimp could have made the final judgement

  64. 72

    Bob spews:

    Goldy & Roger Rabbit;

    Ex-felons are and should be “second class citizens” unless they go through extraordinary steps to bring them selves back into society.

    If you feel that ex-felons should be fully integrated into society after their jail term ends, do you then support changing laws so that ex-felons can possess firearms? The right to keep and bear arms is part of both the federal and state consitutions, but by law we bar ex-felons from this constitutional right.

    If giving ex-felons the right to vote is a “no-brainer” tell me exactly which if any other rights of full citizen ship should be restricted.

    How about convicted sex offenders that have served their sentences, should the be allowed to freely move about the country without having to register their residence with the local police and be put on various computer listings? Full citizens would rebel at having to register their residence with the police.

    Stop for a moment to look at our laws on professional licensing by states (i.e lawyers, engineers, doctors, etc.) which have clauses preventing felons from holding these positions of public trust. Do you feel these laws should also change so that ex-felons can be “better integrated into society?”

    Ex-felons have forfeited many rights beyond voting. They are not full citizens and never have been. If you want them to enjoy voting rights, what makes this right so much different than the other rights we regularly deny them?

  65. 73

    Mark spews:

    Roger @66

    Not sure which quotes you’re questioning. The first one about “discharged from parole” is from YOUR original ACA position statement link. The second quote about “unless restitution is a condition of release” was from an e-mail I received from the ACA (as quoted before). As for the ACA’s position on restitution, I quoted the e-mail I received and also Googled: site:aca.org restitution

    The statement about many states including restitution as a condition of parole is from the NYC site I link @ 45. I concede that you’re right about the “may” instead of “is” issue. Did you even read my (held) post @ 45?

    The reason I say it is a “draw” is that the ACA neither explicitly includes nor excludes restitution as a condition of restoring the right to vote.

  66. 74

    Left Behind by the New Democratic Party spews:


    I am not going to argue about the pros or cons of felons voting (no pun intended.) Rather, I just want to state that I am against the all absentee voting.

    Ever since I first turned 18 and was allowed to vote, I have always gone to the polling place to place my vote. The only time I did not go to the polls was when I was in the military, although I switched from that as soon as I was able too. To me, I see voting as the one true civic duty of an American citizen. It never matters if it is a presidental election, a governor election, or a school bond approval. I would still go to the polls. Doing this instills to me the importance of voting. When I had to vote absentee, it was not as important to me, it seemed lessened. Call me selfish, but I do not want to vote absentee, I want to feel like I am making the effort to do something important.


  67. 75


    report that the non-partisan League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit against Ohio election officials on

    Hmmm- The League of Women Voters a non-partisan organization. Well Rabbit I guess if you are fair and call the NRA a non-partisan organization than I guess I will buy that.

  68. 76


    I think it means something is rotten in Ohio.

    RR- Comparing Ohio to Washington state is a little bit presumptuous dont you think.

  69. 77

    Mark1 spews:

    Relpy to Roger Rabbit at 70:

    Your response just shows your ignorance and total hypocricy once again. And by the way, I’m rather skinny thank you very much. Maybe you can use the snot ridden tissue for yourself when I-912 passes. See you then.