In a rare fit of frankness, our good friend Stefan over at (un)Sound Politics recently posted the following comment:
The P-I is almost as eager to expose King County corruption as is that blog with the veterinary proctology fetish.
This is an admission that, by comparison, Stefan is “eager to expose King County corruption.” So eager, that it clouds his judgment.
For example, in reporting on the depositions of Dean Logan and Bill Huennekens, Stefan concludes that King County “fraudently [sic] certified” the November election, constituting a “Class C felony.” Of course, Stefan hasn’t actually seen the depositions, but that’s okay, because he got the information directly from a totally reliable, objective source: GOPolitburo Chair Chris Vance. Um… Vance hasn’t actually seen the depositions either (nobody has… the court reporter hasn’t made the transcripts available yet,) but you can be sure his information is rock solid… because it came directly from Rossi’s attorneys. And as we all know, a lawyer representing a client in a legal case is always the best place to go for objective, spin-free, totally reliable information.
Yes, Stefan is so eager to uncover corruption, that he bases his conclusions on Vance’s spin of Rossi’s attorneys’ selective presentation of Logan’s recollection. And then he has the gall to follow up this exercise in irresponsible journalism by attacking the P-I for not covering these “damaging revelations”…? You know, revelations like….
3) there was inadequate accounting on blank ballots. How many were printed, how many were returned unused; how many ballots were printed “on demand” in the office, or which of the office staff even had the access and ability to print ballots on demand
4) polling place inspectors (who were appointed by the Democrat Party this year) got blank ballots to take home on Friday before the election; the number is known only to the nearest 20. The inspectors were not asked to account for and return any remaining unused ballots after the polls closed. They were simply instructed to destroy them.
Wow… Democrats printed blank ballots on demand, took them home, and never accounted for them! I can see how one might easily conclude that this damaging revelation is evidence of Democratic corruption… but since neither Stefan nor I are experts at election procedures, I decided to ask somebody who is… the always helpful Lawyer X. And as he explains, there’s no revelation here at all.
[The inspectors] get a shrink-wrapped package of sequentially numbered ballots in a quantity estimated to be what they need, rounded up to the next 20. On election day they bring the shrink-wrapped ballot to the polling place where they join the democratic and republican judges and observers. There have been no complaints that anyone showed up with the shrink wrap broken. The election workers are required to write down the ballot stub number they start with and the one they end with, to return all unused ballots to king county and to account for all ballots used or spoiled. There is no news here.
There are records of the purchases of the ballots, which are printed by Diebold and come shrink wrapped. It is correct that the software for the ballot on demand system does not record the number of ballots printed but the ballots are only printed at the counter in the main election office, in response to over the counter absentee ballot requests or at MBOS in order to make a replacement ballot.
I’m still not exactly sure what the “ballot on demand” system is, but I understand that King County is not the only county to use it. So what we’re talking about here are standard procedures which may sound suspicious to people who don’t know what the fuck they are talking about, but which in the end are really unremarkable, um… standard procedures.
Still, if you’re eager to find corruption, even standard procedures look pretty damn suspicious.
As I said in my interview on Up Front with Robert Mak, Stefan started with the conclusion that Democrats stole this election, and he has gone about desperately trying to twist the evidence into supporting his thesis. That’s fine. That’s a lot of what partisan bloggers do. And that’s why he’s perfectly comfortable drawing conclusions from third-hand accounts of depositions on election procedures he knows nothing about.
But real journalists, like those at the P-I, see their job as reporting the facts. And my guess is that they’ll continue to refrain from reporting on the depositions until they actually see them. Even then, it wouldn’t surprise me if the P-I got a few of the facts wrong… but at least it would be an honest effort, as opposed to the kind you get over on (u)SP.