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)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Dean Logan sticks to his story

In today’s edition of The Seattle Times, there is a repeat of the amazing claim made by King County spin-woman Bobbie Egan, and this time it reportedly comes straight from the horse’s mouth.

Egan had claimed on Thursday morning that the false mail ballot report prepared by Nicole Way and Garth Fell wasn’t actually a falsification.

Here’s the statement attributed to Logan in Keith Ervin’s article in The Seattle Times:

Logan said the Mail Ballot Report — which incorrectly indicated that all absentee ballots were accounted for — shows his office needs to improve its procedures for tracking and reporting ballot numbers.

"What I don't think that indicates, nor occurred, was a falsification of the report or a collaborative collusion on the part of employees here," Logan said. "... It is not the same thing as an employee trying to falsify reports or fix an election, or fraud."

When employees were asked about the report's misleading number, he said, they were forthright and made "no effort to conceal that."

Logan, who became elections director in September 2003, said he has concluded that employees have consistently misreported the number of returned ballots since at least 2000.

Of course, as the article points out, Logan’s two predecessors disagree with his assertion that the report has been routinely falsified since at least the year 2000.

Never mind them.

And pay no attention to Nicole Way, who testified that she and Garth Fell chose to prepare the false report in November 2004 because of shortcomings in their new “DIMS” election management and voter registration computer system. Way testified that she had been concerned about her inability to get accurate reports on the number of absentee ballots returned by voters even before the general election. The conversion to DIMS occurred in the first half of 2004.

Logan has picked his story, and he’s sticking with it.

The only apparent change since Logan’s deposition on April 18 and 19 is the omission from the article of his equally amazing assertion that he didn’t consider the false provisional ballot report and false mail ballot report to be “errors in the conduct of the election.” Perhaps The Times didn’t have space to include Logan’s entire story.

Appended below are excerpts of Logan’s deposition, showing how he claimed even under oath that the mail ballot report was always done that way – that is, it was always purported to be the ballot reconciliation required by law, but really was nothing more than a statement of the numbers of ballots sent through the vote tabulating system and of ballots which weren’t sent through.

Note especially how Logan describes the hurried efforts to get ballots into the vote count before the deadline. If, as he claims, his subordinates didn’t always remove those “challenge codes” in the voters’ DIMS files, then the figures for ballots accepted as valid and ballots rejected would have shown too many ballots had gone through the GEMS vote tabulation system.

Since, despite their best efforts, Logan's gang could not reconcile their numbers after the county's election results were certified based on the false ballot reconciliation reports, it seems clear (and even convincing) that they really did count the votes on hundreds of illegitimate ballots during their frenzied efforts to get as many ballots into the count as possible. They knew that their party's candidate would probably benefit from most ballots they could put into and keep in the vote count -- whether the ballots were legitimate or not.

Way, Fell and Huennekens, if not Logan as well, needed to falsify that mail ballot report to avoid revealing that the best available data showed they had counted the votes on hundreds of illegitimate ballots.

It was the discovery of 93 misplaced absentee ballots that disclosed the false nature of their mail ballot report’s supposedly perfect ballot reconciliation.

It was the presence of hundreds more absentee ballots than voters that prompted them to lie in the first place.

^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^ - ^
Excerpts of Logan’s deposition:
[Page 83] Q. Do you know how many absentee ballots were returned?

A. I don’t have – I don’t have that number. I can’t recall that number off my head, no.

Q. Did you ever know that number?

A. That number was reported to myself and the canvassing board through a mail ballot report that is produced for each election. And we obviously know the number of ballots that were counted by the – absentee ballots that were counted in the election, the number of absentee ballots that were rejected in the election, and the number of ballots that were issued in the election. So I certainly have examined each of [Page 84] those figures.

Q. The mail ballot report indicates the number of absentee ballots returned?

A. Yes, it does.

Q. Okay. And where does that number come from?

A. My understanding is that that – the number on that mail ballot report was derived by taking the number of ballots that were counted, which is reported out of the vote tabulation system, and the number of ballots rejected – number of absentee ballots rejected, which is produced from reports out of the election management and voter registration system and confirmed through manual counts of rejected absentee ballots. I’m sorry. I’m trying to picture the report. Without it in front of me, it’s difficult to –
Q. (By Mr. Maguire) Mr. Logan, I’ve just handed you a document marked by the court reporter as Exhibit No. 1. On the front, it says, King County Canvassing Board General and Special Elections, November 2nd, 2004 Meeting Agenda. Is that [Page 85] correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Is the second page which has a Bates No. B/KING 004870, the Mail Ballot Report?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. Does this help refresh your recollection as to how the number of absentee ballots are counted?

A. Yes. My understanding is that this first gives basis of information that the number identified in No. 1, Total number of ballots issued, comes from a report from the elections management and voter registration system. The total number accepted as valid and counted, Item No. 3,
comes from the vote tabulation system. No. 4, Total number of ballots rejected, comes from a report from the voter registration election management system as well as a manual count of the ballots that were rejected. And that Item No. 2 is derived by adding Items No. 3 and 4. That’s my understanding post election of how this report was prepared. It’s also my understanding of how this report, which is a common report in all elections, has been prepared in the past.
[Page 86] Q. (By Mr. Maguire) And nobody that you know of counted the number of absentee ballots that were physically returned by voters?

A. My understanding is that that is tracked through the batching process, that all return ballots are associated with a batch, and that those batch records, individual batch records, indicate the number of ballots in each of those batches. I’m not aware of a complete roll up report of those batches. And as I indicated before, some ballots will be moved from one batch to another batch based on processing. So simply adding up the total number of ballots associated with each of those batch slips would not necessarily get you to the total number of ballots returned, because some of those ballots had been moved from one batch to another.
[Page 99] Q. Prior to signing the certification, did you know of any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the returns?

A. No, there were not specific discrepancies or deficiencies in returns reported to us.
[Page 111] Q. ...The number of absentee ballots that are determined valid would be known at the time that the absentee ballots are verified; isn’t that right?

A. Are you referring to the number that’s on the mail ballot report?

Q. Not necessarily. As I understand the process, when some election worker is verifying the signature on an absentee ballot comparing it to the signature that’s on the voter registration, that at that time if the signature – if the ballot is validated and verified, it goes into the pool of ballots that can be counted; is that right?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And you would have a number of the ballots that had been [Page 112] identified in your data base as being valid prior to them being counted; isn’t that right?

A. Yes, but that number would be continuing to increase from the time we start counting absentee ballots to the certification of the election because we continue to receive valid absentee ballots. So every day we’re counting starting on election day, and we’re also receiving additional ballots. So there is no – there would not be a manner on which to – on each day of tabulation compare that to a number of ballots that are in the voter registration system as being returned.

Q. On the day of certification or the day after certification, you would be able to tell from your data base how many absentee ballots were verified?

A. Yes, we would be able to get a number of ballots indicated in the voter registration system as having been verified, yes.

Q. Is there any reason that that number would change from initial count through any of the recounts?

A. The number in the voter registration system, no, not unless – I mean, unless there was clean-up work being done in terms of, you know, errors made, human errors made in terms of if close to the certification of the election, you’re really pushing the deadline to be able to certify the election. And also the deadline to, for instance, where the signatures didn’t match or where a ballot was unsigned, we receive updates to those up to the day before the [Page 113] certification of the election. Those have to be processed. The ballots have to be counted and new reports have to be run before we actually do the certification on the day of the certification.
So there is a high risk during that time period that in the interest of getting the ballot processed and counted prior to certification, that the – the rejection code may not have been properly removed from the voter registration system just in terms of the sheer crunched time period in terms of getting that ready. So I would agree with what you stated that there is a – there is the ability to get a report of the number of ballots that have been verified from the voter registration system. There may have been clean-up work being done after certification to go back and be sure that we had adequately removed the rejection records or credited voters who had corrected the problem with their signature or something of that nature.

Q. Okay. Now, on Exhibit 1, the second page, which is the Mail Ballot Report, there is a Line No. 3, Total number accepted as valid and counted. Is that number produced from the data base after verification, or is that based on some other –

A. No, that number is produced, and I think we said that for that number on No. 3 is produced from the vote tabulation system to show that this is the number of ballots that are differentiated as absentee ballots that have in fact been [Page 114] counted in the election.
[Page 217] A....The errors in the reports that were produced as far as the mail ballot report and provisional ballot report, I don’t know that I would classify those as errors in the conduct of the election. I think that there were errors in the – errors or deficiencies in the reporting that was provided to me in the documentation that was put together. I [Page 218] would not consider that an error in the conduct of the election.


Blogger chew_2 said...


I think this will be a weak ground for contesting the election. At most this is neglect of duty or at the farthest reach misconduct, but it can't be shown to have changed the vote count.

The RCW you cited requires the officals to maintain an audit trail that shows:

"(7) A reconciliation that all absentee ballots counted plus all absentee ballots rejected is equal to the total number of absentee ballots received."

King County failed to keep this audit trail, because allegedly their computer system wasn't able to keep an accurate track of the absentee ballots recieved.

How do you show this failure, even if knowing, changed the outcome of the election by giving votes to Gregoire and taking them away from Rossi. This may be evidence of neglect, but is it any evidence that excess illegal absentee votes were cast? I don't see it. It is just as likely that absentee ballots that were received were lost and never counted (which in fact occurred), as that excess invalid absentee ballots were counted or were stuffed. In fact I think the former is more likely, since King claims they were able to accurately keep track of the rejected absentees.

From what Richard Pope told me on Goldy's blog, there is no way to tell whether there were truly excess absentee ballots as Sharkansky claims.

May 22, 2005 9:54 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

chew 2,

If you presume, as you apparently do, that there is no persuasive evidence of the existence of 875 more absentee ballots in the vote count than voters who cast valid absentee ballots, then I suppose it's hard to see the importance of hiding the evidence from the canvassing board, the public and the legislature.

Try it the other way around. Try imagining that the same records which supposedly are reliable enough to certify Gregoire the duly elected governor are reliable enough to demonstrate a substantial excess of ballots in the vote count.

We aren't talking about a little hiccup in the process: It was hundreds of excess ballots in the vote count.

Rather than bring those facts to the canvassing board's attention, the three people (Way, Fell and Huennekens) decided to put false numbers on the Mail Ballot Report, so that it indicated a perfect reconciliation of ballots received, ballots found to be valid, and ballots counted.

Consider the margin of victory for Gregoire in King County, then do the arithmetic -- at least 875 too many ballots in the vote count means she almost certainly received about 525 to Rossi's 349.

While you may refuse to make the assumption that the votes were apportioned that way, note that the canvassing board would be faced with a different issue: Is this a material discrepancy, and what can be done to remedy it?

Knowing that the probable benefit to Gregoire was a roughly 176 vote margin in that group of 875 ballots of questionable validity, the materiality of the discrepancy is obvious.

What might the canvassing board have done? We don't know, because the process through which we try to ensure the credibility of election results was sabotaged through the use of a fraudulent Mail Ballot Report.

The same thing occurred with the Provisional Ballot Summary Report involving other people in the organizational structure -- Linda Sanchez, Julie Moore and Bill Huennekens. They knew from the canvassing process that 900+ ballots were in the polling place ballot boxes that shouldn't be there. They figured out that most, if not all, came from unlawfully cast provisional ballots. They not only hid the discrepancy from the canvassing board by remaining silent about it in the information presented to the canvassing board -- they also submitted a false Provisional Ballot Summary Report that indicated a perfect reconciliation of provisional ballots (rather than an absence of 900+ which matched the 900+ excess ballots in the ballot boxes).

That's a pattern. It's fraud.

Your last redoubt is to claim that no one knows how those hundreds of absentee ballots and provisional ballots were voted.

Frankly, I don't give a damn. It just doesn't matter for whom the invalid ballots were actually voted. RCW 29A.68.050 authorizes the court to annul and set aside the election, and that doesn't require proof that each ballot was voted for one candidate or the other. Read my 11:25 PM post on May 22.

May 23, 2005 11:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home