The WSJ’s Washington State Whitewash

c_gregoire_06gregTrent England, director of something called the Citizenship and Governance Center at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, sounded off today here in the Murdoch Street Journal, attempting to draw a comparison between what he sees as the “Democrat” Party (scumbag) trying to “steal” the Minnesota U.S. Senate election (in which Dem Al Franken currently leads Repug incumbent Norm Coleman by about 50 votes) in the same manner as Christine Gregoire (pictured) triumphed over Dino Rossi in Washington state’s gubernatorial contest in 2004.

There are a number of issues with England’s “analysis,” and I’ll try to address them here (and I’ll admit that there was a bit of a circuitous path, shall we say, between what transpired in the voting and the declaration of Gregoire’s victory, but I found no evidence of the illegal activity England alleges)…

Election workers in King County (where Seattle is located) “enhanced” 55,177 ballots to make it easier for tabulating machines to read them — even though the county had failed to establish written procedures as required by state law. In some cases, individual election workers modified voted ballots using black felt markers and white-out tape while observers were kept at a distance that prevented meaningful observation. Nine separate times, King County “discovered” and counted unsecured ballots.

(I should also note, by the way, that the Democrats have a voter registration advantage in King County – Chelan County is mentioned later, which is heavy Republican).

In response to England, please allow me to provide the following excerpt from this article (I’m going to come back to this a few more times – I don’t know about his “nine times” claim or “meaningful observation” remark; I couldn’t corroborate that anywhere)…

Washington state law allows for election officials to evaluate voter intent and correct ballots so that the machines can properly read them. For example, on a Scantron or other optical ballot, an election official might fill in a circle that was not properly marked so that the machine may record the vote. Republicans filed a federal lawsuit to stop the visual examination of ballots, claiming that it is not allowed under federal law (Equal Protection Amendment). The Republican Party was contending that the method King County was using was different than in other counties, therefore treating voters in King County differently than in others. However, the court ruled that this was not the case, as King County was counting their ballots in a manner similar to that of other counties.

Also, according to England (skipping around a bit)…

In (the) election, at least 1,392 felons illegally voted, 252 provisional ballots were wrongly counted, and 19 votes were cast from beyond the grave, according to Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges’s opinion in a case brought by (Rossi)…

In response, I should note the following from Wapedia…

On February 26, as a part of the Republican suit (brought on January 7, 2005), Rossi’s legal team produced a list of 1,135 felons, deceased people, or people who allegedly voted twice, whom attorneys claimed influenced the outcome.[citation needed] A substantial number of the felon-voters were convicted as juveniles and were legally permitted to vote. [24] Conservative columnists suggested that felons were more likely to vote for Gregoire, but most of the felon-voters resided in counties won by Rossi.

The trial began on May 23, with both sides presenting their evidence of manipulation. On June 6, 2005, Judge John E. Bridges ruled that the Republican Party did not provide enough evidence that the disputed votes were ineligible -or for whom they were cast- to overturn the election. [25] Judge Bridges noted that there was evidence that 1,678 votes had been illegally cast throughout the state, [26] but found that the only evidence submitted to show how those votes had been cast were sworn statements from four felons that they had voted for Rossi. [26] He stated that the judiciary should exercise restraint; “unless an election is clearly invalid, when the people have spoken, their verdict should not be disturbed by the court.” [27] Nullifying the election, Bridges said, would be “the ultimate act of judicial egotism and judicial activism.” He also concluded that according to his interpretation of the Washington Administrative Code, “voters who improperly cast provisional ballots should not be disenfranchised.” He also rejected all claims of fraud and the Republican Party’s statistical analysis, concluding that the expert testimony of the Republican party was “not helpful” and that the proportional reduction theory was not supported under any law in the state (my note: the “proportional reduction theory,” according to the Repugs, was one that assumed that illegal votes were cast in the same percentages as other votes in the same precinct, which the Dems called “an ecological fallacy,” with Bridges in agreement). Striking another blow against Rossi’s court case, he stated that “the court is more inclined to believe that Gregoire would have prevailed under statistical analysis theory,” rejecting the Rossi campaign’s claim that improperly cast ballots led to Gregoire’s victory. [25]

Also, England tells us that the following occurred immediately after the initial vote count…

An automatic recount reduced Mr. Rossi’s lead to just 42 votes. The Gregoire campaign demanded a state-wide hand recount, a time-consuming and expensive process that state law says the challenger must pay for (if the result changes, the challenger is reimbursed). Big labor unions joined with far-left groups like MoveOn.org to put up the money for Ms. Gregoire’s third-time’s-the-charm ballot shuffle.

England’s snide innuendo notwithstanding, can you tell me anything that he described in the prior paragraph which is illegal? Also, it should be noted that Rossi requested a revote on December 29th, 2004, before the legal action transpired, but his request was denied by Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed because Washington’s election law contains no re-vote provision, leaving the lawsuit filed on January 7th as the only other option for Rossi.

And as noted here, England suggests later on that all contested ballots in future elections should be posted online, making anyone who cast such a ballot subject to harassment (imagine the “Brooks Brothers Riot” being played out in chat rooms everywhere, cousins).

Leave it to the Journal to bring us unsubstantiated innuendo and “evidence” of conspiracies that don’t exist, such as England’s fanciful musings (and who knows what they’re already cooking up for ’09).

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