Jon Dougherty's The Commoner

Daily rants on the illogic of the political Left.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Stealing Washington

© 2004 By Jon E. Dougherty
December 31, 2004

After the 2000 presidential election fracas, when Democrat Al Gore tried to sue his way into the White House, I suppose it was a little too optimistic to believe we would emerge from the 2004 election cycle unscathed.

Sure enough, a Democrat and Republican have been locked in political combat in Washington state since the Nov. 2 election results triggered an automatic recount, in what has become the closest gubernatorial race in state history.

The GOP's candidate, Dino Rossi—a real estate developer and former state Senate leader—won the initial race over Democrat Christine Gregoire by 261 votes. After the automatic recount, Rossi won again, but by only 42 votes.

If you remember what happened in 2000, each time Democrat-leaning Florida election officials "recounted" ballots, George W. Bush's lead over Gore diminished. So it should come as no surprise that Democrat-leaning election officials in Washington state would eventually find more ballots for Gregroire than for Rossi, if given enough recount opportunities. Call it the new Democrat election modus operandi.

Almost on cue, after the intial count and recount, some 700 ballots "mysteriously" appeared from Democrat-heavy King County, which encompasses the liberal bastion of Seattle. So of course, there was another recount and, as "fate" would have it, Gregoire finally won one—by just 129 votes (so why wouldn't Gregoire's margin trigger another automatic recount, since her victory was smaller than Rossi's initially victory?)

Now that she has won, Gregoire has rejected any pleas by Rossi to hold a new election, despite the obvious appearance of fraud and chicanery, and despite the fact that she lost the first two counts.

"This ain't golf. No mulligans allowed here, folks," Gregoire's spokesman, Morton Brilliant, said this week. "It's irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don't like losing this one."

His comments, of course, could be applied to his boss; after losing two recounts, why should she get a "mulligan?"

I guess Democrats are finally getting even, in some small way, for what they have always viewed as the theft of the 2000 election by Bush—even though scores of tainted liberal news organizations conducted their own ballot counts and found, to an outlet, that Bush indeed did win, and that the Supreme Court decision declaring him the winner was as much an afterthought as ultimately irrelevant.

But how did this happen? How could Gregoire have legitimately won after two counts showed her opponent ahead? Those a good questions that few mainstream media outlets are answering.

Most of the balloting controversy centers around King County. For their part, state GOP leaders are asking election officials why the county's list of registered voters who cast valid ballots in the election shows about 3,500 fewer people than the total number of votes certified in the race, according to The Seattle Times.

Also, Republicans say a number of military voters said their ballots either never arrived in time for them to cast votes or weren't counted when the votes were returned home. Think of military voters as anti-King County; they generally vote Republican.

And while the disposition of those ballots remain a mystery, more than 700 ballots inexplicably appeared from King County after the first two recounts. It was the latter group of ballots that tipped the scales to Gregoire.

King County elections officials say they'd be less concerned if the ballot discrepancy were in the range of 1,000 or so, but more than 3,500 makes them uncomfortable. And while they say some of the discrepancy can be attributed to domestic-violence victims whose addresses are confidential and military or overseas voters who cast ballots under special rules, those are small figures that leave most of the 3,500-vote discrepancy unexplained.

It isn't surprising that Gov. Gary Locke, a "lock"-step Democrat, agrees with Gregoire that a new vote is unnecessary.

But given the blatant incongruity of King County's voter figures, the mysterious appearance of pro-Democrat ballots and the mysterious disappearance of more than 3,500 other ballots screams for a new election.

Democrats, who have long controlled the state, are balking, though. Now that they've stolen Washington they don't appear willing to give it back, though the reasons why they should are the same ones they used in 2000 to try to justify a new presidential tally.

Only then, the numbers didn't lie. In Washington today, however, they do.

Jon E. Dougherty is author of "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," and a correspondent for


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