Sunday, December 19, 2004

I've had trouble...

...getting as exercised as I probably should be over the recount in the Washington Governor race. I've never been particularly confident that a recount would produce the desired Democratic victory, and, in fact, the Leg is Democratic enough to keep Dino Rossi from doing anything particularly evil, and the state is broke enough to keep Chris Gregoire from doing anything particularly good, and the vote is close enough to keep either of them from claiming any particular mantle of legitimacy.

My sole interest, really, has been on the 'count every damn vote' principle. One recount, two, three, whatever it takes. Count every damn vote.

So I am pretty exercised over this...
TACOMA, Wash. - A judge Friday granted a state Republican Party request to block the counting of hundreds of recently discovered King County ballots in the governor's race, which the GOP's candidate is winning by just a few dozen votes.

Even if the election workers wrongly rejected the ballots — 150 of which were discovered Friday — it is too late for King County to reconsider them now, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend said.
A couple of points.

First, I'm kind of puzzled over why they went to a Pierce County judge to get a ruling on King County ballots in a statewide election. Just smells wrong, even if Arend was originally a Democratic appointee to the bench.

Mostly, though, I'm confounded by the decision that votes that were cast by demonstrably eligible voters (including a King County Councilmember!) at the proper time in the proper fashion would be cast aside for any reason. If the statute doesn't provide for counting these votes, the courts should set aside the statutes, not the votes. These aren't 'hanging chads' or otherwise disputed ballots. These are the votes of citizens properly exercising their franchise. Clerical error can't be the grounds for denying that franchise.

The State Supremes take up the matter next week. Statutes be damned. There's only one principle that matters in this case.

In a democracy, we count every damn vote.


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