Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Logan's guilty knowledge: Hidden in plain sight?

(Update April 25, 2005: The King County "certification" posted at Sound Politics is indeed the same as what was sent to the Secretary of State's office. It may even be similar to what King County has used in the past. So, the answer to the questions at the end of this entry may well be: Dean Logan doesn't know beans about election laws. The failure to comply with the law and certify that the abstract of votes was a true representation of the votes cast may be nothing more than the result of sheer ignorance. That raises another couple of questions: Has King County's canvassing board done anything amounting to a certification of their election returns for the last general election, and does anyone give a tinker's damn whether they have?)

Sometimes it’s amazing what insights one can gain from looking at the original documents. Things can be hidden in plain sight which may only be discerned with hindsight.

Stefan Sharkansky has posted at Sound Politics a copy of the King County canvassing board’s November 17, 2004, “certification” of the county’s election returns.

A perusal of the certification and Logan’s signed oath reveals that their very form may hint that the participants knew they were “certifying” election returns which did not accurately state the number of legitimate votes cast in King County.

Logan didn’t swear to anything other than passing along to the canvassing board the garbage handed to him.

The canvassing board simply certified that their official election returns were the same as the garbage handed to them by Logan.

Logan’s oath, odd as it may seem, is in accord with a narrow, literal interpretation of the law.

As the equivalent of a county auditor, Logan was required to swear to the “authenticity of the information presented to the canvassing board.”


Before canvassing the returns of a primary or election, the chair of the county legislative authority or the chair's designee shall administer an oath to the county auditor or the auditor's designee attesting to the authenticity of the information presented to the canvassing board. (Emphasis added.)


“Authenticity” can be interpreted to mean only that the information being passed along by Logan wasn’t changed by Logan – that it is the same as what was handed to Logan by his subordinates and precinct officers.

Note the wording of Logan’s oath:


“I solemnly swear that the returns of the State General Election held on November 2, 2004, in King County, State of Washington, have been in no way altered by additions or erasures and that they are the same as when they were deposited in my office.” (Emphasis added.)


Who “deposited” them in Logan’s office? Was it "the little people" who came during the night and prepared everything for Logan and his subordinates?

Does Logan really believe his responsibility extended only to passing along what was “deposited” in his office without checking to see if it was true?

Unlike Logan’s oath, the canvassing board’s certification doesn’t appear to be in accord with the law.

The board members were supposed to certify that the abstract was a “full, true and correct representation of the votes cast,” but they only certified that the garbage handed to them was the same as the garbage they were passing off as the official county election returns.

The duty of the canvassing board is stated in both statute and regulation.

  • RCW 29A.60.190 requires: “...on the fifteenth day after a general election, the county canvassing board shall complete the canvass and certify the results.”
  • Rather than simply certify that the official returns are the same as the garbage handed to them by the auditor, the canvassing board must determine whether the returns are true. RCW 29A.60.200 states: “The county canvassing board shall proceed to verify the results from the precincts and the absentee ballots.”
  • Only upon determining that the returns are true may the canvassing board certify the official election returns for the county. WAC 434-262-070 states: “Upon completion of the verification of the auditor's abstract of votes and the documentation of any corrective action taken, the county canvassing board shall sign a certification that the abstract is a full, true, and correct representation of the votes cast for the issues and offices listed thereon.”

The canvassing board’s certification was supposed to state that the official election returns were a “full, true and correct representation of the votes cast.” Instead, it stated: “The undersigned officers...hereby certify that this is a full, true and correct copy of the Abstract of Votes cast....”

In other words, the canvassing board ducked its responsibility to determine whether the returns correctly stated the votes cast by simply saying their returns were the same as the “Abstract of Votes” prepared by Logan (or whoever “deposited” it in Logan’s office).

Are other counties using these same apparently meaningful, but actually meaningless, forms for their auditor’s oath and canvassing board’s certification of election returns?

Did Logan and the canvassing board intentionally use forms for the oath and certification which seemed to say more than they literally said? Or did they simply not know that it was their responsibility to determine how many legitimate votes were cast on each issue and for each candidate?

7 Comments:

Blogger Splatter said...

As the 'Church Lady' from SNL would say, "Well now, isn't that CONvenient?".

An oath can be defined as a legal obligation to tell the truth. That is, unless you are a WA RAT.

April 23, 2005 2:28 PM  
Blogger Splatter said...

As the 'Church Lady' from SNL would say, "Well now, isn't that CONvenient?".

An oath can be defined as a legal obligation to tell the truth. That is, unless you are a WA RAT.

April 23, 2005 2:28 PM  
Blogger Splatter said...

Sorry for the double post..

April 23, 2005 2:31 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

Logan's "oath" and the canvassing board's "certification" are so far off the mark, I'm wondering if there is actually another document somewhere that contains the oath and certification required by law.

If not, it surely is odd that King County did nothing more than certify that the abstract of votes was a true copy of itself.

April 23, 2005 2:37 PM  
Blogger Splatter said...

"document somewhere that contains the oath and certification required by law."

If there isn't, there should be. Was the oath written in MS word with a time stamp of April 2005? LOL. You never know.

April 23, 2005 6:36 PM  
Blogger mickh said...

Failure to certify the returns, if they can be ascertained with reasonable certainty, is a crime under RCW 29A.84.720.

Now what part of "REASONABLE CERTAINTY" make Logan a liar?

You guys need to get a life and move on to something important, like worring about Out of Control Judges.

April 24, 2005 1:26 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

mickh,

If I could figure out your point, I might disagree with you.

Please take the time to write intelligibly, or don't write at all.

April 24, 2005 1:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home