King County did nothing resembling a bona fide
reconciliation of their ballots and voters prior to certifying their election returns on November 17 (and their subsequent recounts).
Today at Sound Politics
Stefan Sharkansky posted copies of the files he received from King County which explain what they did.
The explanation of their reconciliation process
demonstrates that any explanation at all for the discrepancy between the number of signatures in the poll book and the number of ballots inserted into the AccuVote machines at the polling places was accepted as a good enough explanation.
Take the example given on page 3 of that 5 page explanation in which the polling place at Bothell Regional Library was found to have 32 more ballots inserted into the AccuVote machines than there were signatures in the poll books. Since no precinct officer reported having seen provisional ballots inserted improperly into the AccuVote machines, the election office employee who canvassed that precinct’s records didn’t note the discrepancy as resulting from “PBAV” or “provisional ballots run through AccuVote.” Instead, the canvasser came to that same conclusion but noted it as 31 “no label” ballots – meaning that there were no provisional ballot envelopes with the stick-on labels containing voter identification information, but nevertheless that had to be where the extra “voterless ballots” came from.
Ironically, if the election office employee doing that canvassing had been more careful, the “variance” between the number of signatures and the number of ballots counted might have been reported as zero rather than one. For Bothell Precinct 01-0254, which used that library polling place, the cover sheet with the canvasser’s notes has been posted at Sound Politics
. [Update 3:52 PM
-- After looking again, I'm not sure I understand what the canvasser was doing. There were 179 ballots counted on election night -- 177 went into the AccuVote machine at the polling place, and 2 were "add-ons." There were 171 signatures in the poll book. That leaves 8 more ballots than voters, yet the canvasser surmised that only 4 provisional ballots were improperly inserted into the AccuVote machine. It seems that 8 were improperly inserted into the machine at the polling place. Perhaps the canvasser guessed wrong in concluding that only 4 "no label" provisional ballots were improperly inserted into the AccuVote machine. Either that or some other problem with the records at that polling place exists. If only 8 provisional ballots were issued, and if 4 of them were properly sealed into envelopes, then the canvasser's surmise that 4 were improperly put into the AccuVote machine makes sense. Where, then, did the other 4 ballots that were included in the 179 election night count come from? I have put this note in brackets and left my original thoughts alone, since I really don't know what the canvasser was doing with the available numbers -- nothing adds up the way the canvasser indicated it does.] The cover sheet shows that the canvasser found 179 ballots had been cast, but only 171 signatures were recorded in the poll book (“WANDA 171”). The canvasser apparently should have noted +8 for the variance in that precinct, but noted only “+7.” Then, instead of making an “adjustment” to subtract 31 from the total 32 “variance” to arrive at a net “variance” of one for the polling place, the canvasser could have subtracted 32 to arrive at a “variance” of zero.
Of course, the variance between the number of signatures in the poll books and the number of ballots was still 32, but no such variance was reported to the canvassing board.
Instead, the canvassing board was told (to the extent that they read any of the stuff made available to them) that the “variance” for the precincts using the Bothell Regional Library polling place was only one more ballot than the number of voters who signed the poll book.
That is worse than no reconciliation at all, because the canvassing board members would have been misled about the true magnitude of the discrepancy. They would have believed that the number of illegitimate ballots that appeared in the vote count under irregular circumstances (that is, in violation of the laws intended to ensure that our elections are decided by the legal votes cast by eligible voters who vote only once) was much smaller than it actually was.
The “reconciliation” done by King County in essence accepted as sufficient any seemingly plausible explanation for the presence of illegitimate ballots, then “adjusted” their report so that it didn’t show any problem at all with those illegitimate ballots.
The courts are supposed to presume that election officers and canvassing boards do their jobs in a careful and lawful fashion, but what are the courts supposed to do when it is obvious that the election officers didn’t do their jobs carefully, and the canvassing board members (other than, presumably, Dean Logan) were kept in the dark about the magnitude of the problem?
The canvassing board was required to certify that the county’s election returns were a “full, true and correct representation of the votes cast
." In a sense, they did – except that the illegitimate nature of many of those votes was hidden from them. In short, their election returns weren’t a “true” statement of the legal votes cast.
It is no wonder, then, that there is a large discrepancy in the number of ballots cast and counted and the number of voters known to have participated in the election. When that discrepancy was first noticed at the end of December by Stefan Sharkansky, the official party line in response was that the process of updating voter registration records to show the date of the last election in which voters participated wasn't supposed to show a match between voters and ballots.
Now, the original records are finally beginning to see the light of day, and it appears that the discrepancy is real -- and that the reason the updating of voter records after the election showed a discrepancy is because there was a discrepancy.