The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 January 2005

Rossi's Best Hope Yet

Would this ever have become a story without the bloggers? The fact that vote totals cannot be reconciled would not be known if number-crunching bloggers hadn't done the research the print media refused to tackle. Now the papers are playing catch-up.

Nonetheless, this is a big story today in the Seattle Times. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer isn't going to want to touch this, they are railing on their editorial page in support of the fraudulently stolen election.

For Chris Vance and the GOP, this may be the best element to take to the people and courts. All of the other, smaller pieces of evidence add up to a pattern of fraud and inaccuracy, but this provisional ballot scandal is huge on its own:

(Seattle Times)

An unknown number of provisional voters, some of whom may not even have been registered to vote, improperly put their ballots directly into vote-counting machines at polling places, King County's elections superintendent said yesterday.

Once those ballots went into the machines, there was no way to separate them from legitimate ballots.

Provisional ballots are given on Election Day to voters who show up at the wrong precinct or whose registration is in question. The ballots are supposed to be put inside two envelopes, with the voter's name, address and signature on the outside, and counted only after the voter's status is verified.

Officials may never know exactly how many provisional ballots were improperly fed into voting machines, but a current review of polling-place records will give some indication of how widespread the problem was, county Elections Superintendent Bill Huennekens said.

Improperly cast provisional votes could play a role in a possible Republican challenge of Democrat Christine Gregoire's 129-vote victory over Republican Dino Rossi, whose campaign is preparing to ask that the election be set aside.

Miscast provisional votes could be one reason the number of ballots counted in King County outnumbered the list of voters who voted by 3,539.

"What part of it was it?" Huennekens said. "I don't know. Did it happen? Yes. Unfortunately, that's part of the process in King County, where we have over 2,600 precincts and over 540 polling locations and nearly 4,000 workers. It's a very human process, and in some cases that did happen."

State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance, who plans to discuss the provisional-ballot issue at a news conference today, said it constituted a serious lapse in election security.

"We have very, very loose standards and procedures," he said. "I don't think our system in this state takes fraud and accuracy seriously."

In King County, a record 27,641 provisional ballots were counted in the election; 1,791 others were disqualified either because the voter wasn't registered or the signature on the ballot envelope didn't match the signature on file.


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