Larry Osterman's WebLog

Confessions of an Old Fogey
Blog - Title

Interesting commentary on Washington State's election...

Interesting commentary on Washington State's election...

  • Comments 12
I don't normally do political commentary in this blog - its' a technical blog, not a political blog, and there are enough of those blogs out there anyway, but...

For those of you not in Washington State, during the November election, Republican Dino Rossi was declared the victor by something like 240 votes.  This triggered a mandatory recount under state law, which reduced his lead to 42 votes.  The Democrats asked for a hand recount, and the hand recount declared Democrat Christine Gregoire Governor by a margin of 129 votes (out of 2.7 million cast).  That means that by any stretch of the imagination, this election was a tie.  The election might as well have been determined by the flip of a coin.

The Republican party is challenging the results of the election, this morning they had a press announcement where they touted 737 votes that they claimed were illegal.

They're using this as evidence of what they call a "fundamentally flawed" election process.  On the other hand, when I look at those numbers, I see that they're saying that .02% of the votes (2 in 10,000) were flawed.  To me, that is evidence of an extraordinarily well run election - it's an error rate of 1 in 5,000 votes!

I've recently been reading David Goldsten's blog at http://www.horsesass.org (named for his failed initiative to declare Tim Eyman a horses ass).  Goldy's pretty liberal (ok, he's a flaming liberal), but he's made some excellent posts about Washington State politics recently (whether or not you agree with him).

Today, Goldy put up a really insightful post about very nature of elections, and especially close elections that I thought was worth pointing out.

Edit: Fixed link to Goldy's site, sorry about that (I should know better than to post without first checking links).

 

  • Ugh. It's horsesass.ORG - .com points to an ultra spammy porn site.
  • Larry!

    What the hell are you doing, trying to get people fired?

    Don't click that horsesass.com link if you're at work, people. I think horsesass.org is the site you're talking about.
  • WHOOPS! Thanks !, my bad - I actually ran into that back when Valorie first pointed me to the site and I totally spaced when writing the post up.

    For those that came in late, the .com version of Goldy's site is NOT work safe.
  • gee, wonder where these Republicans were four years ago when we had the problem in Florida?

  • I dunno. Personally, I think it's a tribute to the state that so little problems were found.

    And the legislature here actually had the foresight to come up with a coherent contingency plan for dealing with close/contested elections. There a great commentary that was run in the Seattle Times here: http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=corky25&date=20050125&query=logan that talks a bit about the king county electoral process. Before you think it was written by some bleeding heart liberal supporter of Dean Logan, it was written by Corky Mattingly who is the auditor for Yakima County, in the heart of the Republican eastern half of the state.
  • In elections that are that close, the thing you have to avoid is either party requesting recounts until they get the results they want.

    The question is; did the Dems follow the law as far as the recounts go? If they did, then they win. The problem in Florida was that people were trying to change the rules after the election in order to gain extra votes. This was being done by both the Dems and the Reps.
  • In elections that are that close, the thing you have to avoid is either party requesting recounts until they get the results they want.

    The question is; did the Dems follow the law as far as the recounts go? If they did, then they win. The problem in Florida was that people were trying to change the rules after the election in order to gain extra votes. This was being done by both the Dems and the Reps.
  • I think the big bone of contention was that provisional ballots, which should not be counted before they are verified as coming from registered voters, were counted without this check. The number and location they were cast from guarantees that they made the difference in this close election. After seeing what's been happening in Miluwalke... And the vote counting, to me personally, is even weirder. They counted three times. Two went Rep, the last one went Dem. Why stop there? Count it three more times and see how many different results you get. Why stop on number 3? If it's anything, its flawed...
  • Tim,
    As far as I've read, they followed the law.

    Will - the law says that you stop at three, that's why it stopped at three. It's actually cool - the entire recount procedure is laid out in the law, unambiguously, so it can be followed on a state-wide basis.

    What's happening now literally keys off of the meaning of a couple of sentences in the law regarding invalidating the election - the law's clear, the ambiguity is whether or not the evidence gathered so far is sufficient to justify invalidating the election.

    There were clearly mistakes made (737 at last count), the question is whether or not those mistakes are sufficient to overturn the result of the election.

    And they might be, it's now up to the courts to decide.


    Btw, I'm not picking on the Republicans here. The reality is that if the 3rd recount hadn't gone in Gregoire's direction, then I suspect that the Democrats would be pushing just as hard to overturn the election (they'd have a significantly weaker case than the Republicans IMHO, since they'd have lost three counts instead of winning 2/3 of the counts).
  • When an election is this close, 49.99% of the voters will be unhappy, so the outcome almost does not matter.

    My interpretation of all the near-tied elections of late is that the Democrat/GOP political system is finding equilibrium. These parties have found just the right balance of issues so voters cannot differentiate between the Democrat and GOP candidates. Thus the election results are effectively random and look like 2.7 million coin tosses.
  • loser! ^#^ <br>
  • loser! ^#^ <br>
Page 1 of 1 (12 items)