March 5, 2014
Netanyahu's inaction to Obama's provocations sends powerful message
Kerry, after apparent criticism by Schumer, seeks to allay skepticism on diplomacy
How to ruin a perfectly good kid in 10 simple steps
2014 Oscars played it safe, but was faith lost in the shuffle?
Apple joins Hobby Lobby in touting corporate values beyond profit
March 3, 2014
Alina Dain Sharon: In the Hebrew calendar, a leap year has extra month, not day
Latest Obama appointment to prove Prez set on emasculating so-called Israel Lobby
Jewish World Review
Jan. 31, 2005
/ 21 Shevat, 5765
During the Florida vote controversy in 2000, Democrats always said they wanted to "count all the votes." Skeptics thought what they really meant was "count enough votes for Al Gore to win." In Washington state it is this latter mantra that has apparently been the operating principle. A Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, has just taken office after the state kept recounting until she finally overcame the slight advantage of her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, and voilá! all curiosity about getting ever-more accurate vote counts ended.
For years, experts have warned that the nation's election process is scandalously sloppy and prone to fraud. And that this risks creating elections that no one can have any confidence in. They were right. Look no further than the shame of Washington state. Granted, any election as close as the state's gubernatorial race Gregoire "won" by 129 votes will create great pressure on an election. But no one can have any confidence about who won in Washington, partly because the system is broken and some officials don't seem to care.
First, a principle: Elections are held in accord with rules. Those rules are necessary so everyone can agree beforehand on how the election will be conducted (e.g., will all felons be allowed to vote or not?) and so basic protections can be maintained against abuse (e.g., by having voters register with a valid address). All over the country, these rules are often not enforced, resulting in what John Fund, author of "Stealing Elections," calls "designed sloppiness." On the one hand, the problems might look like mere incompetence; on the other, they create the possibility of abuse by whichever party controls the jurisdiction in question.
In King County home to liberal Seattle that party is the Democrats. Rossi supporters suspect Democratic officials there have gamed the process to find new after-the-fact votes. Nine times, they say, King County discovered additional ballots that tended to favor Gregoire. Even if this wasn't partisan manipulation, county officials have been zealous in finding uncounted ballots and utterly blasé about excluding improperly cast ballots, creating a process inherently skewed against Rossi.
And there were plenty of improperly cast votes. The Seattle Times has reported that 129 felons voted in King and Pierce counties. Remember: Gregoire's margin was 129 votes. Election officials have shrugged and said they can't bother to keep felons from registering. The state Republican Party, which has just gained access to a statewide list of felons, now says it has identified 240 felons who voted and expects to find more.
Further irregularities abound. Roughly 350 provisional ballots which are supposed to be closely inspected to see if they are legitimate were directly fed into machines and counted in King County. There are some 1,800 "voterless" ballots in King County. These ballots were counted, but no one knows quite where they came from. The GOP says it has found votes across the state in the names of dead people and double voters. Rossi is asking for a revote, and deserves one.
Too late, you say? Fund points out that in 1975 there was a revote in a New Hampshire U.S. Senate race 10 months after the election. Well, you say, Gregoire has already become governor? In 1962, a Republican governor in Minnesota took office for three months, then was replaced when a court decided he hadn't really won. Old examples? North Carolina is preparing now for a state-wide revote of an agriculture commissioner race.
This all could be a mess coming to an election near you. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just found 1,200 votes cast from invalid addresses in Milwaukee, prompting an FBI investigation. The paper reports that critics worry that "the problems signal either bureaucratic blundering or widespread fraud, though they can't determine which because the system is so messed up." Washington is now the poster state for such problems. It can provide a different kind of model by trying to get it right, tightening up procedures and voting again.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and the media consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
Rich Lowry Archives
© 2005 King Features Syndicate