Logan's guilty knowledge: Hidden in plain sight?
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?