Washington State Governorship: Best 3 Out Of 4?

Although to be frank, I thought it was entirely possible that Dino Rossi had been cheated out of his governorship in Washington State by a Democratic county that kept “finding” votes, and finally put the Democrat, Christine Gregoire, ahead on the third manual recount, I was not initially in favor of his fighting it in the courts.

The reality is that it’s very difficult to overturn election results, even controversial ones, and so it usually makes more sense to bow out gracefully and put yourself in a position to run again (Ex: John Thune, who came back after questionable defeat to beat Tom Daschle). The reverse of that is also true, that coming across as a “crybaby,” who won’t accept defeat, hurts your chances in future elections (See Al Gore). On top of that, elections, even close ones, should be decided at the ballot box, not in the court system, because legal challenges undermine people’s faith in the system.

But, after reading all the irregularities in this election that was decided by 129 votes, I think Rossi has a pretty good shot at actually getting a revote and winning this election outright. What irregularities you ask? John Fund has the goods…

“At least 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle’s King County than the number of individual voters who can be accounted for. Other counties saw similar, albeit smaller, excess vote totals. More than 300 military personnel who were sent their absentee ballots too late to return them have signed affidavits saying they intended to vote for Mr. Rossi. Some 1 out of 20 ballots in King County that officials felt were marked unclearly were “enhanced” with Wite-Out or pens so that some had their original markings obliterated.

Most disturbing is the revelation last week by King County officials that at least 348 unverified provisional ballots were fed directly into vote-counting machines. “Did it happen? Yes. Unfortunately, that’s part of the process in King County,” elections superintendent Bill Huennekens told the Seattle Times. “It’s a very human process, and in some cases that did happen.”

…Much of the evidence uncovered on King County’s flouting of election laws first appeared on Soundpolitics.com, a blog run by computer consultant Stefan Sharkansky. A former liberal who worked for Michael Dukakis in 1988, Mr. Sharkansky calls himself a “9/11 conservative mugged by reality.” He uses his knowledge of statistics and probability to illustrate how unlikely some of the reported vote count changes are. He also uncovered the fact that in Precinct 1823 in downtown Seattle, 527, or 70%, of the 763 registered voters used 500 Fourth Avenue–the King County administration building–as their residential address. A full 61% of the precinct’s voters only registered in the last year, and nearly all of them “live” at 500 Fourth Avenue. By contrast, only 13% of all of King County voters registered in 2004.”

Add to all of that the fact that felons & the dead were turning out to vote — mostly Democratic — in Washington State, and it’s crystal clear that the number of fraudulent and questionable votes goes far beyond the infintesimal margin that Gregoire won by on the third, less reliable, manual count.

This is a rare enough circumstance that you may literally never see me write this again, but Rossi, take it to court, get a revote, and win that governorship — best 3 out of 4.

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