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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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June 08, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Chris Vance Statement on Election Contest Ruling
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

Washington state GOP Chairman issued this statement today in regard to the election contest ruling:

When she was certified the winner in the Governor’s race, Christine Gregoire called 2004 a “model election.” We, on the other hand, maintained that due to thousands of illegally cast votes, and egregious errors made by King County elections officials, it was impossible to actually know who was truly elected governor. Yesterday, despite ruling against us, Judge Bridges confirmed the major elements of our case.

He confirmed that there were at least 1,678 illegal votes cast; thirteen times the margin of victory. Yet Judge Bridges ruled that the law required absolute proof as to how each of those votes were cast. Think about that for a moment. That would require first; contacting each felon, double voter, and person who voted in the name of a dead person; second, persuading them to admit to a crime by admitting that they voted; and third, trusting that they would tell the truth about for whom they voted when doing so would hurt the candidate they wanted to see elected! Clearly, this is an impossible standard. Worse still, this standard means that the higher the number of illegal votes, the harder it is to prove an election contest.

On the issue of misconduct, errors, and possible fraud in King County, Judge Bridges confirmed that irregularities occurred. He acknowledged that King County was overtaken with a “culture of inertia and selfishness.” It was our position that the failings of King County opened the door to possible fraud and made it impossible to know the true winner of the election, and that that fact alone was grounds to annul the election. Yet the Judge ruled that we had to prove that the irregularities and misconduct everyone acknowledges occurred caused the election of Christine Gregoire. Again, this is simply an impossible standard to reach.

We believed, and still believe, that the law, and past court decisions allow courts to annul an election when it is impossible to know who truly won. We respectfully disagree with Judge Bridges’ interpretation of the law, but if he is right then the Washington State Legislature needs to take action next year, because Washington currently has no meaningful election contest procedure for a statewide election.

One thing I think we can all agree on is the benefit this contest action will have in terms of cleaning up our elections system. No one knew seven months ago how flawed our election system was. No one imagined that illegal voting was so common and widespread. And certainly no one imagined that King County would certify an election without knowing how many ballots were issued or returned. It took this litigation to show us the truth, and I believe that county auditors across the state will respond and make the necessary improvements.

In King County, however, Ron Sims and Dean Logan may say they’ve gotten the message, but we’ve heard that before. What the people of King County need and deserve is a new county executive who will truly change the culture of the elections office, and all of King County government. We look forward to working with the King County Republican Party to make that happen this Fall.

This has been a remarkable seven month crusade. I want to thank our outstanding legal team, and all the staff and volunteers of this joint effort of the State Party and the Rossi Campaign. I particularly want to thank Dino and Terri Rossi for having the courage to see this through. Although we were not successful, I am proud we stood up and fought the good fight. We did the right thing, and this state will be better off for it.

This finally closes the book on the 2004 election. Republicans won some and lost some, but I believe that electing Rob McKenna Attorney General, and electing Dino Rossi Governor – twice – demonstrates the ability of Republicans to win in this supposed blue state. We know the way now. We will move forward from here unified, energized, and ready to win in 2005, 2006, and beyond.

It is true that the 'book is now closed on the 2004' election - because there is no available recourse to pursue for justice within government institutions - but what the public must do in the aftermath of the demonstrated craven and dirty situation in our fair state is NOT foreclosed. If we allow an illegitimately elected governor to break her campaign promises and ransack public legislation that protects us from her pillage - if we allow these things to stand - then we might as well accept their benighted fifedoms and wear a branded 'SERF' across our foreheads.

Pulled by Emcee on June 8, 2005 at 12:08 AM
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June 07, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Not my governor
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

We learned today that justice is not available in the state of Washington.

Knowing what I know about what transpired during and since the November election, I find it a complete travesty that Gregoire sits as our governor.

Since justice cannot be found in the trust that our public places in its officials that administer elections, since it cannot be found in the law, and since it cannot be found in the one in which the law is reposed, it is now in the hands of the people.

What the people must now decide is whether it is acceptable to live under tyranny or whether we will be a free people. There is no doubt that at this very moment the people of Washington state are not a free people - we are under the tyranny of a few craven blow hards in King County and their sinister bargain with the former attorney general.

If we accept this outcome as some matter-of-course justice then we deserve the chains that we will wear.

I, for one, believe that the people must speak up for themselves. I support a referendum to recall Gregoire's fraudulent election, broken promises, and poor governorship in the next available election.

Our very right to deserve what our forefathers died for is at stake.

Pulled by Emcee on June 7, 2005 at 12:11 AM
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June 06, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Excerpts from Rossi Statement
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

WA GOP Chairman Chris Vance sent an excerpt of Dino Rossi's remarks today:

Excerpt of Dino Rossi statement, June 6, 2005:

“With today’s decision in mind, and because of the political makeup of the Washington State Supreme Court – which makes it almost impossible to overturn this ruling – I am ending this election contest.  I wish Christine Gregoire and her family all the best.

“I don’t make this decision lightly, but I also don’t make it with bitterness or hard feelings.  I continue to believe – and I think most Washingtonians believe – that mounting this election challenge, and shining the light on very serious problems in our election system, was the right thing to do.” 

Chris promised an additional statement tomorrow.

Pulled by Emcee on June 6, 2005 at 11:57 PM
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WA Governor's Race: The breath is baited ...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

Judge Bridge's decision is due today in the election contest. It will happen while I sleep away Monday night here in Japan. Alas.

It comes down to: do election officials have to obey the laws that the legislature made for them or can they do whatever they want and subvert the will of the people? I think I know that proper answer to that question.

I hope that the judge does.

Pulled by Emcee on June 6, 2005 at 09:31 AM
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June 03, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Day 8 update from the Chairman
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

WA state GOP Chairman Chris Vance issued this statement as a summary of the eighth day of the election contest:

Day Eight:  More Confirmation of the Republican Case as the Trial Nears it’s End

On Thursday, Linda Sanchez from the King County elections office continued her testimony.  Under cross-examination from Republican attorneys, she reinforced much of the information underlying the claims of 785 provisional ballots being fed through counting machines at polling places and of 216 more ballots counted than voters signing in a polling places.  Democratic party staffer Noel Frame then offered testimony in support of a summary of 637 felon voters offered by the Democrats (identified using a list taken entirely from precincts where Dino Rossi got at least 54% of the vote).  She also offered a few dozen additional felons whose inclusion was challenged by the Republicans.

The Democrats put their second expert, Prof. Handcock, on the witness stand.  His lengthy testimony offered a detailed analysis of the "scientific" problem involved in determining the effect of illegal votes, including efforts to account for the race and gender of illegal voters based on exit poll data.  He admitted under cross-examination that his analysis offered insight only for the abstract scientific problem, not for the practical legal problem facing the court.

The Democrats have some additional evidence to introduce, but delayed resting their case until Friday morning so that the Republicans could put on their first rebuttal witness (who has a scheduling conflict on Friday).  Prof. Tony Gill offered his analysis of the impact on the election outcome of deducting the felons identified by both sides, as well as the 785 provisional ballots cast improperly in King CountyHe concluded this would change the outcome of the election.

Today, the Democrats will finish introducing their documentary evidence and rest their case.  The Republicans will then put on their remaining rebuttal witnesses (election observer Dan Brady, state elections official John Pearson, and Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman).  Each side will make its closing arguments in the afternoon.

The judge announced today that he will issue his ruling from the bench on Monday morning.

Whew! Almost there ...

Pulled by Emcee on June 3, 2005 at 11:53 AM
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June 02, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Day 7 update from the Chairman
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

WA state GOP Chairman Chris Vance offers this update from Day 7 of the election contest:

Day Seven:  Judge Seems Frustrated With King County;

Democrat Expert Say He Doesn’t Know if Gregoire Won!

Wednesday began with the Democrats putting King County elections director Dean Logan on the witness stand.  Logan testified for more than half the day.  The main themes of his testimony were that elections are very hard, that the nature of the elections process is human interaction, and that King County is big.  At the conclusion of the lawyers' examination, Judge Bridge took the unusual step of questioning Logan.  The Judge referred to the 2004 Election Report that Logan wrote for Ron Sims and publicized to the entire county.  The judge asked whether there was any sense of urgency to fixing the problems in King County.  Logan's answer deserves to be reproduced in full:

"I think there's been a sense of urgency about fixing -- I don't like to use the word fixing in terms of the elections process.  In terms of addressing the issues in King County elections for a long time.  And I think a lot has been done to address those issues.  There certainly have been issues that have been identified each step of the way as we prepared and responded to this court case.  And I can assure you that there are steps being taken right now to address those issues."

After Logan's testimony, the Democrats called one of their experts, Prof. Adolph.  He repeated much of his testimony from last week.  On cross-examination, he admitted that as a scientific question, he did not know whether or not Christine Gregoire got the highest number of legal votes.  The Democrats then called Linda Sanchez, head of King County's canvassing crew.  She testified that the canvassing crew works hard and they are impartial and they had lots of observers around.  She criticized the number of 1,156 positive discrepancies at polling places offered by the Republicans.

At the end of the day, the Democrats filed a motion to exclude Clark Bensen's testimony that King County had 875 more absentee ballots than absentee voters.  No one testified for the Democrats that this number was wrong, yet they now seek to exclude it altogether.

Today will begin with cross-examination of Linda Sanchez, followed by testimony of the other Democrat expert (Prof. Handcock) and the Democrats' researcher who will introduce their illegal vote evidence.  After the Democrats rest, the Republicans will begin their rebuttal witnesses.  These are expected to include Dan Brady (testifying about ballot security and the role of observers in King County), Prof. Anthony Gill (testifying about the proportional analysis on the full range of illegal votes in evidence), possibly John Pearson from the Secretary of State's office, and Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman (testifying about the reconciliation and crediting process in Thurston County).  The Republican rebuttal may last into Friday, and closing arguments are expected to be on Friday.

Shark calls the Q&A between Bridges and Logan "one of the most telling moments of the trial". And it seems like a little more than Judge Bridges is 'frustrated' - sounds like King County has given him a major migraine ...

Pulled by Emcee on June 2, 2005 at 12:21 PM
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June 01, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Day Six Update from the Chairman
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

Washington state GOP Chairman Chris Vance sent out this update in the election contest trial this morning:

Day Six:  Key Democrat Witness Helps Confirm Republican Case

The trial resumed after the Memorial Day holiday with the Democrats putting Nick Handy, director of elections for the Secretary of State, on the witness stand.  They asked him about problems that had occurred in counties around the state, and about the process of crediting voters.  He restated the view in a set of talking points he circulated in January that voter crediting does not bear on the authenticity of the election.  He declined to agree with the Secretary of State's view that the problems in King County were "appalling," and said he thought the most serious mistake in the election was the failure to disclose the shortcomings of the King County mail ballot report to the canvassing board.

When the Democrats finished, Dale Foreman cross-examined Handy in what may have been the most dramatic portion of the trial so far.  Handy said that election errors tend to fall proportionally with the votes in the election -- lending support to the Republicans argument that illegal votes should be deducted from the results on a proportional basis.  He said crediting is not required to be performed before certification, but Foreman demonstrated to him, and got him to agree that in fact pre-certification crediting is required by law for absentee ballots -- which Handy said make up 70% of the ballots in Washington.  Handy agreed that accurate reconciliation is required before certification.  Foreman got Handy to agree that the law requires counties to count absentees before counting provisional ballots in order to prevent double voting.  King County did not do that.  Handy said he was neutral in the case, but Foreman showed him an email he wrote in January about the crediting issue in which he said, "If we can successfully demonstrate that this is an unfounded claim, I would hope that this would serve to undermine the confidence of the court in the other R claims."  The lawyer for the Secretary of State's office had Handy recite a list of claims the Republicans dropped from the election contest and several instances when the Secretary of State sided with the Republicans in the contest litigation. 

The next witness for the Democrats was Snohomish County auditor Bob Terwilliger.  He testified that it was a very complex election.  He also answered questions about issues in balancing voters in 4 precincts, explaining the reasons for the differences and saying the an addendum to the returns explaining the discrepancies was given to the canvassing board and forwarded to the Secretary of State.  He was asked about the 224 uncounted absentee ballots that Snohomish County found during the recount, and offered a document he prepared for his testimony showing the effects of those ballots.

The final witness of the day was John Pearson from the Secretary of State's office.  On cross-examination, he said he did not know if errors affected the outcome of the election and that the number of errors required to conclude the outcome was affected could be as low as 130.

Today the Democrats plan to call Dean Logan and Linda Sanchez from King County, Noel Frame (their researcher who will testify about felon votes), and their two experts.  They expect to rest their case today.

Re: Foreman showed him an email he [Handy] wrote in January about the crediting issue in which he said, "If we can successfully demonstrate that this is an unfounded claim, I would hope that this would serve to undermine the confidence of the court in the other R claims." Can you say: "Destroyed the credibility of the witness?" I thought you could.

Foreman also asked Handy after this if he really could maintain that he was 'neutral' in this case. Handy said "yes". Foreman reminded Handy that he was under oath.

Shark and friends continue great live blogging of the trial.

Pulled by Emcee on June 1, 2005 at 11:34 AM
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May 27, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Election contest update from the Chairman
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

WA state Republican Chairman Chris Vance sent out this information this morning regarding the election contest:


Trial Update - May 27, 2005

Day Four:  Judge Admits Republican Expert Evidence

Day Four was data day.  The Democrats began the day by cross-examining Clark Bensen about the data he compiled for the experts.  The Republicans then called Jonathan Katz, their first expert.  When Professor Katz took the stand, the Democrats objected to his testimony and called for a "Frye hearing" to determine whether his testimony satisfied the threshold of scientific validity for use by the court.  The ensuing hearing lasted 3 hours, during which time Professor Katz testified about his qualifications and the Democrats' two experts testified about their criticism of Professor Katz's report.  On cross examination, the Democrats' first expert testified that it is impossible to know how the illegal votes were cast and, therefore, who won the election.  At the conclusion of the Frye hearing, the judge decided to hear the testimony from the experts but defer his ruling on whether they satisfied the Frye standard.

Professor Katz and the Republicans' other expert, Professor Anthony Gill, then testified about how they had analyzed the election result data files and illegal votes to deduct illegal votes from the election results based on a proportional analysis.  Their expert reports were placed into the record.  After the testimony of the experts, the Republicans read into the record the brief deposition of Vern Witte, who decribed how someone had cast a ballot in his wife's name.

On Friday, the Republicans will introduce some additional documentary evidence and then rest their case, at which time the Democrats will move to dismiss the case on the grounds that the Republicans have not presented sufficient evidence to overturn the election; even in the absence of contrary evidence from the Democrats.

Pulled by Emcee on May 27, 2005 at 10:48 AM
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May 26, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Day 3 from the Chairman
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

WA GOP Chairman Chris Vance issued this statement this morning regaring day 3 of the election contest trial:

Trial Update - May 26, 2005

Day Three:  Republicans Build Case Despite Democrat Objections

Wednesday was an eventful and successful day in the election contest trial.  The Republicans called Nicole Way, supervisor of absentee ballot processing for King County, as the day's first witness.  She testified about her concerns that King County's computer system could not track absentee ballots sent or received, and the discussions she had with Garth Fell and Bill Huennekens about her concerns. The Republican lawyers showed her some absentee ballot batch slips and the "accountability" spreadsheet King County prepared that summarized all of the batch slips -- and the many discrepancies and errors involved in them -- and had her explain them to the court.  When the Republicans offered the accountability spreadsheet as evidence, the Democrats objected vigorously.  This was the latest instance of their strategy to stop evidence about the election from being heard -- a trend that continued throughout the day (the judge agreed with the Republicans and accepted the spreadsheet into evidence).  Ms. Way confirmed (yet again) that the infamous Mail Ballot Report did not do what the law requires, which is to verify that the number of absentee ballots received was the same as the total of the number counted plus the number rejected.  The number received shown on the report was merely the sum of the numbers counted and rejected, not an independent check on them.

The Democrats cross-examined Ms. Way, trying to establish that ballots were secure and that any fraud or misconduct would have been detected.  They also asked if the mail ballot report had always been prepared this way.  She said it had not (and later expanded that by saying that in the past the computer system produced a report showing the number issued and the number credited, which could be compared to the report of the number tabulated and the daily log of the number sent and received).  The Democrats also asked her questions about the no signature on file ("Larry Phillips") ballots.  When she admitted to a Republican lawyer that one reason voter records might not have a signature is that the voter did not sign their application, the lawyer for the Secretary of State asked whether unsigned applications would be processed (implying they would not).  Ms. Way said she had seen actual original copies of registration applications that were processed even though they were not signed.

After Ms. Way's (long) testimony, the Republicans called Clark Bensen.  Mr. Bensen testified about his collection of data relating to the 2004 election and about two aspects of the data he reviewed -- that there were 875 more absentee ballots counted than absentee voters credited in King County, and that most of the precincts with the largest surplus of ballots were won by Christine Gregoire, while most of the precincts with the largest surplus of credits were won by Dino Rossi.  We believe this non-random pattern of discrepancies is strong evidence that fraud may have occurred. The Democrats objected strenuously at every stage of this questioning, seeking to bar Mr. Bensen from testifying, to bar him from talking about the 875 vote absentee discrepancy, to bar him from talking about the precincts with the largest differences, and to bar him from using visual aids to explain the data he testified about to the court.  The Democrats also complained that they had not been advised of Mr. Bensen's work on voter crediting, notwithstanding that they questioned him about it during his deposition.  The lawyer for the Secretary of State objected that voter crediting information could not be used to prove anything about who voted or how many people voted.

Today, the Democrats will cross-examine Mr. Bensen.  There will then be a "Frye hearing" where the Democrats will seek to prevent testimony by the Republicans' experts.  Assuming the judge agrees to hear the testimony, it will follow the hearing.  Depending on the timing of the testimony (and how many more objections the Democrats make), the Republicans expect to complete their case Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.

It's worth discussing a little about what is going on here. It continues to appear that the Democrat legal strategists have been believing the LSMs and their own press clippings since the contest was announced - that the legal case is essentially just about the tabulation of illegal votes and argument about who would have received more or less votes on that basis. Neither the press nor the Democrats have been prepared to hear specific allegations of fraud. The Republicans, for their part, did not do any particular telegraphing about it and now the Democrats are left just attempting to keep the evidence that has been uncovered from being presented.

Pulled by Emcee on May 26, 2005 at 11:15 AM
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May 25, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Trial Update May 25th from the Chairman
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

Washington GOP Chairman Chris Vance sends this update today in the election contest trial:

Trial Update - May 25, 2005
Day Two:  Republicans Win Key Ruling/Huennekens Confirms King County Discrepancies
Tuesday’s session began with arguments and a ruling on the Democrats' motion to stop the Republicans from introducing evidence about the 875 more absentee ballots than voters in King County.  The judge appeared to give the motion serious consideration, but ultimately denied it, in a major victory for our case. 

The Republicans then called their first live witness, Chelan County Auditor Evelyn Arnold.  Chelan County uses the same voter registration and ballot counting systems as King County.  Ms. Arnold testified about the election processes in Chelan County, including the county's rigorous processes for auditing and verifying ballot counts.  She cited an example where the county found one ballot less than absentee envelopes in a reconciliation, and brought in temporary employees to search until they found the missing ballot.  Asked what could cause there to be more ballots than voters, Ms. Arnold offered two possibilities -- federal write-in ballots, or ballots being counted twice.

The remainder of the day was filled with questioning of Bill Huennekens, superintendent of elections for King County.  Early questions revolved around the infamous mail ballot report, in which King County fabricated a number to give the appearance it had fulfilled its legal obligation to balance absentee ballots received with the sum of those counted and rejected.  Mr. Huennekens said he did not know how the mail ballot report was created, and did not remember conversations with his subordinates about the report, but he confirmed that King County did not know how many absentee ballots were returned.  The Republicans then offered into evidence a spreadsheet prepared by King County that summarizes the county's poll ballot reconciliation.  The Democrats objected repeatedly to having this spreadsheet used as evidence, but the judge ultimately allowed it (note: adding up the precincts with positive variances from this spreadsheet shows a total of 1,156 more votes than voters at polling places).  By the end of the day, Mr. Huennekens also testified about King County's analysis that 785 provisional ballots were put directly into counting machines on election day.

He also references an article in the Seattle Times from this morning as outstanding detail regarding the reconciliation discrepancies in King County.

Of course, the article suggests that this past election is a refereundum for future elections - there are things that must be fixed. Kevin doesn't suggest that there should be a remedy for the botched, fraudulent travesty that opened the door to election tyranny.

Pulled by Emcee on May 25, 2005 at 01:10 PM
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