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Washington GOP aggrieved

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I’ve been following the showdown for the governorship of Washington. The latest twist is a lawsuit by disgruntled Republicans. Democrats won the right to contact provisional voters by phone last week. Provisional ballots often haven’t been signed, or the person may need to update residency information. If there is a problem and the voter is not heard from, his ballot is ignored. The GOP is perturbed because Democrats can make their votes count by correcting the problems.

KGW-TV has been covering the conflict.

A judge ruled Tuesday that King County should continue counting provisional ballots, despite protests from Republicans.

Superior Court Judge Dean Lum refused to grant a temporary restraining order against the state’s largest county, a stronghold of support for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire.

The ruling affects less than 1,000 ballots, but the governor’s race is so close that those ballots could make a huge difference. On Tuesday afternoon, Republican Dino Rossi led Gregoire by 236 votes, out of 2.8 million ballots cast.

But, that’s not all. A recount in a populous county is expected to increase the number of votes for Gregoire. The Seattle Post Intelligencer has the details.

MONTESANO, Wash. — Grays Harbor County will have to re-count all of its ballots because of a problem with a computer reporting system, The Daily World of Aberdeen reported Tuesday.

County Auditor Vern Spatz said the re-count will likely add to Democrat Christine Gregoire’s total votes for governor.

Statewide, at last count, Gregoire was 158 votes ahead of Republican Dino Rossi, out of 2.8 million ballots cast. The deadline for counties to finish tallying ballots is Wednesday.

“We do not have to rescan them, we could just rerun the report, but we don’t want to have anybody have any doubts about this election,” Spatz said. “We’re going to take the time and effort to rescan every ballot in our office and generate new totals. It takes away any question.”

Rossi’s earlier lead of between 2000-3000 votes evaporated soon after vote counting resumed after the Veterans Day holiday. Some sources now say Gregoire is ahead. With hundreds more votes to count, it is unclear which candidate will prevail. The law requires the state to certify a winner tomorrow. I am not going to try to guess the outcome.

What’s the art?

A temporary site where voters could submit their ballots in Pierce County, Washington. Most Washingtonians vote by mail.

Note: This entry also appeared at Mac-a-ro-nies.

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About The Diva

  • Update: Will the GOP never hit it and quit it with the lit, lit, litigation? They’ve now sued to try to stop some ballots from being counted in the recount. The NYT has the story.

    Republicans sued Secretary of State Sam Reed and the King County Division of Elections on Saturday, arguing that ballots that could not be counted electronically should be excluded from the recount because they would have to be checked by hand.

    The lawsuit said the recount would be inconsistent because hand counting was not an option in counties where punch-card ballots were used instead of optical scanners.

    “This constitutes a clear violation of hundreds of thousands of Washington voters’ right to equal protection under the United States and Washington State Constitutions,” the lawsuit stated.

    Nonsense. If those ballots are not counted, the voters who completed them will be deprived of their right to to vote, period. Though the statute assumes machine counting, that does not mean ballots the machines won’t read shouldn’t be counted by hand. What was the outcome? The GOP lost.

    Estimated recount completion is tomorrow.

  • There are post mortems floating around already, but I’m remaining reticent. The margin is just too close to do otherwise.

  • RJ

    Rossi wins! Maybe…

  • CJH-Seattle

    It’s official. A recount has been called by the Washington Secretary of State.

    The final count gave Republican candidate Dino Rossi the win – by 261 votes.
    Counties have until next Wednesday to recount votes.

    It isn’t over yet…

  • I wasn’t able to find out what voting machines are used. But, I do know how the miscount occurred. They were transferring data from one computer to another on discs. (Beats me why a network isn’t being used instead.) Carrying them by hand from one computer to another. Then, apparently, laying them beside the computer. Some of the discs were inserted in the second computer more than once. That resulted in a false tally.

    (Note to reporters: Diebold machines are controversial. Say whether they are being used.)

  • A 93% turnout?

    Was that on Diebold voting machines?

  • CJH-Seattle

    I have to say that I’m heartened by the intelligence of Gray’s Harbor County to suspect that 93% voter turnout doesn’t seem quite right, investigate and recount immediately.

    We hear a lot about the technical problems with e-voting and such, but I’d like to quickly praise the integrity of some of the people dealing with these issues to challenge their own results, admit and correct their errors.

    Congrats to Grays Harbor for temporarily restoring my faith in the process of American democracy.

    Of course, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed about today’s results.

  • Amazing, isn’t it? We say every vote counts. But, it is really something to see it so clearly demonstrated.

    I’m wondering if the GOP is bad sport enough to try to challenge the provisional votes if Gregoire wins. We’ll see.

  • CJH-Seattle

    Thank you for keeping people updated on our “mini-Florida” race here in the Northwest. As of now (12:45am), Rossi is ahead by a mere 19 votes.

    All results will be certified @ 4pm tomorrow and we’re pretty much assured of a recount.

    If I may, however suggest for those who want to follow the goings on – to go to KING5-TV in Seattle http://www.king5.com rather than KGW which is in Portland (even though I used to work at KGW in my TV news days). KING5 has real-time vote count as well as links to other election info for those political junkies who love a good drama.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Gregoire win. It would help blunt the extreme disappointment I’ve felt since election day… but only a little.

  • RJ

    Fine post, thanks for the update.

    One small issue:

    “But, that’s not all. A recount in a populous county is expect [sic] to increase the number of votes for Gregoire.”


    Hey, even the best writers need editors! 😉