The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

29 November 2004

Ukraine vs. Washington State

What's the difference between election fraud in Ukraine and what's happening in Washington State? The end result is the same, only the methods sometimes differ. Certainly those loyal to outgoing President Leonid Kuchma's (and Putin's) hand-picked successor are better at stuffing the ballot box than King County judges and party activists in Washington, as Gregoire finished the second count 42 votes behind.

The Sunday Telegraph gives the best account of the attempt to swipe the election so Putin can reassert control over Kiev, Soviet-style. In the Washington matter, John Fund finally gives the story the national attention it deserves in the Wall Street Journal Online Edition.

While in Ukraine there was outright violent intimidation on election day, both places saw a fishy, sudden surge in the numbers of ballots after the polls closed. In Washington it occurred in Seattle's King County.

In both cases the obvious losers, Viktor Yanukovich in Ukraine and Christine Gregoire in Washington, refuse to concede. Both are working their respective legal systems, hoping to find a way to manipulate things in their favor. Gregoire found a King County judge willing to help her change flagged provisional votes by allowing the Democrats to contact provisional ballot voters whose signatures didn't match or had registration issues. This alone is highly irregular. King County marked ballots for Gregoire where it felt the voter's intent was to choose her even when not clearly indicated.

It isn't really much different than what happened in Kiev, where voters were given marking pens with disappearing ink in opposition strongholds. Sometimes acid was poured into the ballot boxes. In both cases you are manipulating the results.

Yanukovich may want to take some lessons from Gregoire. Her media friends in Seattle continue to portray the election result as some kind of unresolved matter still in limbo. The fact is that Dino Rossi is the Governor-elect. He won both counts. The election results had to be certified last Wednesday by law. Yes, Gregoire may sue her way into an overturn, but the fact remains he won.


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