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)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Repeat after me: State law requires....

While it remains to be seen whether the Republicans’ lawyers can repair the damage done so far, there is a faint glimmer of hope in today’s press release.

The party chairman, Chris Vance, actually said some of the magic words about the essential elements of canvassing the votes and certifying a county’s election results:

In addition, Vance reiterated that the Republican case is not just about illegal votes and proportional analysis. State law requires counties to reconcile the results of the election before the certification, and recent depositions of King County election officials have added to the mountain of evidence regarding how flawed King County’s reconciliation was. “In some areas there are still hundreds more ballots than voters, in others there are more voters than ballots, and now we learn that King County had no real security over blank ballots and no valid absentee audit trail. Those facts will be part of our case,” said Vance.

It’s a small thing, I suppose, but it would be nice to hear the Republicans’ lawyers say in their opening statement at least 10 or 11 times: “State law requires....”

State law requires “voter crediting” before certification of the election results, therefore it is not a “post-election administrative exercise that does not bear upon the authenticity of the election results” – no matter how many times Nick Handy and the auditors who coordinated their “talking points” with him say differently.

State law requires the crediting of voters with having voted at the polls by a notation made in the poll books at the time the ballot is issued – that is, before the ballot is voted, much less cast. It is beyond cavil that voter crediting at the polls is accomplished before the polls close, therefore it is impossible for voter crediting to be honestly described as a “post-election administrative exercise.”

State law requires an examination of the poll books to ensure that voters don’t successfully cast more than one ballot by casting a regular ballot at the precinct in which they are registered and a provisional ballot at another polling place – or an absentee ballot in addition to one or both of the other types of ballots. If processing more than 30,000 provisional ballots makes it necessary to transfer the voter crediting notations to the computerized voter registration database – to avoid having to go to the poll books before deciding whether to accept each one of those ballots – then the transfer of data is done before certification of the election, not after, just as it was done in King County. If the transfer of data was done in a careless, sloppy and mistake-ridden fashion, that raises more doubt about the accuracy of their election results, not less.

State law requires counting the signatures of voters who signed the poll books before being issued regular ballots and comparing that number to the number of ballots in the box – and remedying the situation created by ballots in excess of the number of regular ballots that ought to be in the boxes. No matter how many times Nick Handy, Dean Logan, and the others say differently, it is clear that reconciling the number of voters credited with voting at the polls and the number of ballots in the ballot boxes is required by state law.

State law requires the crediting of voters with having voted by absentee ballot by notations made in the computerized voter registration records at the time their ballots are accepted as valid. Thus, absentee voters may be credited with voting even before election day – hardly something which could truthfully be called a “post-election administrative exercise.”

State law requires an “audit trail” that shows how many absentee ballots were returned by voters and what happened to each ballot – thus requiring a reconciliation of the numbers of voters credited with voting and the number of absentee ballots included in the vote tabulation.

State law requires the county’s chief elections officer to swear to the authenticity of the information presented to the canvassing board – not just that he hasn’t altered or erased the ballots submitted by voters (a silly oath by Dean Logan anyway, in light of the tens of thousands of enhanced ballots).

State law requires the chief elections officer and his subordinates to refer ballots of questionable validity to the canvassing board for a decision as to their disposition.

State law requires the chief elections officer and his personnel to bring discrepancies in the counts of voters and ballots to the attention of the canvassing board when those discrepancies cannot be resolved by showing that the counts actually reconcile with one another. It is the canvassing board’s duty to determine what remedy is appropriate when there are invalid or questionable ballots in the boxes.

State law requires a truthful presentation of the facts to the canvassing board when substantial discrepancies are recognized, for example, the discrepancies known to Dean Logan and his subordinates when King County included roughly 780 more absentee ballots, 785 more polling place ballots, and 780 more provisional ballots in the vote tabulation than could legitimately be in the count according to their own records.

State law requires the canvassing board to verify the accuracy of the auditor’s abstract of votes, not just certify that it is a true copy of itself – as King County’s canvassing board so ignorantly did.

State law requires the removal of ballots not lawfully cast and referral to the canvassing board for a decision whether to reject them – including both absentee ballots and provisional ballots that are unlawfully inserted into the ballot boxes via Accuvote machines at polling places.

State law requires the canvassing board to exclude from the vote count all illegitimate ballots which can be identified and removed. When the canvassing personnel discover that a certain number of invalid ballots is in a polling place's ballot box, they have a duty under state law to inspect the ballots and remove the absentee ballots and folded, creased provisional ballots that are clearly identifiable as being something other than valid, regular polling place ballots.

State law requires the inclusion of all legitimate ballots in the vote tabulation, which is why state law requires an audit trail for absentee ballots, a separate system for tracking the provisional ballots, and yet a third system for reconciliation of ballots by precinct which were cast at polling places.

State law requires that the number of ballots included in the vote tabulation equal the number of ballots accepted as valid, which is why state law requires the chief election officer to swear to the authenticity of information presented to the canvassing board – rather than claiming ignorance regarding false and misleading absentee and provisional ballot reports and about the deliberate concealment from the canvassing board of discrepancies involving hundreds of provisional ballots inserted into the ballot boxes.

State law requires a good faith effort by the canvassing board to determine whether the abstract of votes is a full, true and correct representation of the votes cast – because others will be relying on that certification from the canvassing board rather than canvassing the ballots all over again to check the county board’s work.

How many times is that? Sixteen? More? Okay, then say "state law requires" at least 16 times in the first three minutes.

Somehow, the petitioners have to educate Judge Bridges and overcome the misleading statements from the Secretary of State and the Democratic Party which he has, so far, swallowed hook, line and sinker.

Assuming the petitioners can marshal the evidence and present it in court, it would help if the judge started off with a rough idea of what is actually required by state law.


Blogger Splatter said...

Yes, yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!

I hope team Rossi is reading your posts.

Keep on keepin on brother!

May 10, 2005 8:47 PM  
Blogger Iguana said...

Great post Micajah.

Washington is not a state governed by laws lately. The law is applied only when it is politically correct to do so, or when it benefits Democrats or one of their special interests.

If this election is not thrown out, Washington state should officially be renamed Bananaton.

May 11, 2005 11:49 AM  
Blogger Josef said...

This is a great piece of research that I just linked to on my blog.

Tonight, I'll add ya' to my blog roll!

May 11, 2005 1:00 PM  

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