Thursday, December 23, 2004

You've got to read this....

Hugh Hewitt's book title (If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat) is being illustrated in Washington State. I picked this up at Powerline and sourced it to (They specialize in WA politics.)

Eyewitness Report from Chernobyl

A friend who's been deeply involved in the King (Ukraine) County manual "recount" e-mails:

When the hand count was complete at the Tukwila facility, it was my understanding from talking to the floor managers, that Rossi was still in the lead. At that point the canvas board still had several hundred ballots to review but now they knew how many votes to come up with to give Gregoire a victory. It seems they did just that by assigning overvotes to Gregoire.Initially we were tallying clearly marked overvotes as overvotes and putting them back in the box with the rest of the ballots when we had completed counting a precinct. That changed about half-way through the count of absentee ballots when the canvas board ordered that all overvotes, no matter how clearly marked, be sent to the board for review. There have been reports that the board's criteria - or at least the criteria used by two members of the board - also changed in regard to the overvotes at that time and more were divined to be real votes, and mostly for Gregoire. The infamous "Christine Rossi" decision was one example of many illustrating the nonsense going on with the canvas board when that overvote was decreed to be a valid vote for Gregoire.The other sequence of events that raised questions involved our initial counts and the subsequent search for ballots to recycle. When this process started we first sorted ballots from the polling places into precincts. Then it took just two days to count the some 300,000 ballots from the polls. The observers from both parties watched the data entry process and knew, by the end of the poll ballot count, that the hand count in King County was not going to change the outcome of the governor's race unless something else was done. As we began counting the absentee ballots, it was obvious that the Democrat's counters had new directions and they were noticeably more aggressive in sending ballots to the canvas board. At the same time, someone in the Elections Department obviously initiated a search for ballots that could be recycled. Perhaps the timing was a coincidence but I doubt it. That led to the "discovery" of the 700 - plus ballots that the state supreme court allowed in with this Wednesday's decision.In the last few days of the operation, we were counting the poll ballots again for the second and, in some cases, third and fourth times. The boxes of the "poll" ballots that came to my table all had absentee ballots mixed in with them, which was not suppose to happen. On one hand, having seen what passes for inventory control at the Elections Department, I was not surprised that this, too, was a mess. Yet it also does away with one of the audit trails and provides an excuse as to why the count in any particular precinct may differ from the original. By chance I happened to get my own precinct poll votes to count. I had been a poll watcher on the original election day, and had recorded the poll vote from the tape that ran when the poll was closed. There was a significant difference between what was reported the evening of November 2 for my precinct and what was in that precinct's box on December 19, when I counted the ballots. Gregoire's votes had gone up and Rossi's had gone down. It was obvious that absentee ballots were mixed in with the poll ballots, so changes could be expected, but it raises the question of whether or not those Rossi poll votes are now in the box of absentee ballots for that precinct or "misplaced" in some closet in a warehouse somewhere.I personally have no doubt that the two Democrats on the canvas board made a conscious effort to fix the election in Gregoire's favor. I am also certain they were aided, perhaps unwittingly, in that effort by the incompetence of the top managers within the Elections Department.After discovering Precinct 1823 and hearing the Elections Department's "What Me Worry?" response to it all, I'm wondering whether this is simply incompetence or bona fide criminal negligence.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at 08:37 PM Comments (38) Categories: 2004 Governor's Race

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