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May 18, 2005
WA Governor's Race: The Chairman Speaks
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

Washington state GOP Chairman Chris Vance held a press conference yesterday in advance of the election contest court case that will start up next week. Here's his press release:

Rossi Re-Vote Update:
Vance Details King County Mess in Advance of Trial
Today WSRP Chairman Chris Vance held a press conference detailing the ongoing
election mess in King County. Below are highlights of this press conference.
  • There were so many errors made by King County election officials that it is impossible to rule out the possibility that votes were fraudulently added or subtracted from this election, and that fact alone is enough to void this election.  King County failed to follow state law, failed to reconcile the results of the election, and therefore failed to do what is necessary to guarantee a legal and accurate election.

  • King County’s records are so inaccurate and incomplete that in many cases it is impossible to determine exactly what happened.  But three facts are beyond dispute:

  • First, there is still a significant discrepancy between ballots cast and voters identified in King County.  State law requires counties to reconcile the results of the election before they certify the results.  King County did not do that, and they still can’t.  In some precincts there are hundreds more ballots cast than voters King County can account for, in other areas there are fewer ballots than voters.  In total, King County’s best effort at reconciling polling place ballots shows 216 more ballots counted than voters signing in at the polls.  King County’s absentee ballot audit trail, required by law, is so flawed King County officials themselves described it as “virtually meaningless.” Although the audit trail itself is a mess, we know that there were a total of 875 more absentee ballots counted than there were identified absentee voters – and that is AFTER offsetting the nearly 2,000 more ballots than voters in some precincts with the 1,100 more voters than ballots in others.  If we look at the actual audit slip data and the absentee ballot audit records, the picture is even worse.  Put another way, under the analysis most favorable to King County, there were at least 1,091 more ballots than voters in an election decided by 129 votes.

  • Second, the reconciliation process is our primary protection against voter fraud.  There have been a lot of bank analogies thrown around regarding this election and those analogies fit. The reconciliation process, matching ballots to signatures is how we prevent people from voting twice, or election workers from stuffing ballot boxes or the opposite, stealing ballots.  During his deposition, Sam Reed confirmed that reconciliation is critical in preventing fraud.  In Milwaukee the exact same thing is happening right now.  There are several thousand more votes cast than voters listed in the records of the city of Milwaukee.  There, the U.S attorney is investigating and calls the discrepancy clear evidence that fraud occurred, even though Milwaukee’s election records are so sloppy they may never be able to convict anyone.  He likened it to trying to prove "a bank embezzlement if the bank cannot tell how much money was there in the first place."  Another bank analogy, and exactly the situation we face here.

  • Third, King County failed to take the steps required to guard against fraud. The single most shocking fact that has emerged from this election contest is this: King county election officials do not know how many blank ballots they started this election with and they don’t know how many more ballots were created by staff during the 3 counts.  Other auditors and the Secretary of State have testified during the gathering of evidence that knowing how many ballots you have is the cornerstone of a clean election.  And King County’s system, alone in this state – and perhaps in the nation – is designed and run so that at no point does anyone know how many ballots are in play in the counting process.  Remember, Ron Sims said King County elections had an accuracy rate any bank would envy.  Well the King County elections department is a bank that does not know how much money it carries at deposits or how much is withdrawn.  It is a bank that simply trusts each teller to do the right thing.  In addition,  King County staff used inconsistent standards in reconciling poll ballots, and they did not start their absentee ballot audit trail with a count of how many ballots were returned to the county.  In his deposition, Sam Reed said this was particularly important in order guard against stuffing the ballot box or stealing votes.  They didn’t follow the reconciliation procedures required by state law, they didn’t secure blank ballots, and now their books don’t balance.  Again, these facts are beyond dispute.

  • Finally, one thing has become crystal clear:  Dino Rossi was right when he called this election a certified mess.  Next week, Christine Gregoire’s lawyers will not stand up in court and defend the accuracy of this election.  They now agree with us that thousands of illegal votes were cast.  They agree with us that King County made egregious errors.

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