If you’re dismissing the news this week that two Republican King County Council Members called for Election Superintendent Dean Logan to resign as just more bombastic partisanship in the governor’s election flap, that’s wishful thinking. Logan’s predicament is for real. And, in turn, so is Gregoire’s.
At an “election reform” town hall meeting in Kent last week, on March 31, King County Elections chief Dean Logan made an astonishing new admission that contradicted his earlier defense of the election: “The reconciliation documentation for this election was not up to the standard it should be.” Indeed. The “reconciliation documents” are supposed to tally the numbers to show that every ballot has a voter and vice versa. These reports are produced in order to prove that the person who won the election really won the election. But as Dean Logan finally confirmed what I’ve been saying for weeks, the “reconciliations” don’t reconcile. There are still more ballots than voters.
Logan’s admission should finally signal the end of Gregoire’s reign of error. The irreconcilable reconciliation reports make it difficult for Chelan County’s Judge John Bridges to rule any way in the Republican’s election challenge except that it’s impossible to know who won last November’s gubernatorial race. Accordingly, Mrs. Gregoire could be tossed out of the Executive Mansion in time for Bastille Day, with a Rossi-Gregoire rematch this November.
The meltdown in King County Elections is an Enron-style accounting scandal. Enron’s financial wizards cooked up a bunch of phony-baloney accounting statements in order to conceal their embezzlements. Had Enron’s directors exercised their duty of oversight instead of ceremonially signing off on the financial statements, millions of investors and ratepayers would not have lost billions. Likewise, the King County canvassing board’s job was to sign off on the election returns, but only after satisfying themselves that the staff’s accounting for ballots and voters actually reconciled. The canvassing board should have figured out that the numbers didn’t add up. For example, this year’s “Provisional Ballot Report” covered up the roughly 700 unverified provisional ballots that illegally went into the ballot box. And on April 1, Dean Logan followed up the Town Hall meeting with startling news that confirms just how fictitious the reconciliation reports actually were. His staff found 87 (eventually 93) more absentee ballots that weren’t counted in November. These votes should have been flagged in November’s “Mail Ballot Report” (a part of the absentee-ballot reconciliation report) to the canvassing board, which purported to account for every absentee voter and their ballots.
By now, even Christine Gregoire must be embarrassed by the funny numbers that put her in the Governor’s Office. As attorney general, Gregoire wrote this in her 2002 Seattle Post-Intelligencer op-ed about the widespread harm caused by Enron’s accounting fraud: “prepare yourself for the new math—Enron math. The theory is simple: Any way you tally the numbers, they don’t add up for Northwest residents.”
Any reasonable person who does the math should reach the same conclusion about the Enron-style numbers in the governor’s race: They don’t add up and they don’t tell us who really won. It’s hard to imagine a reasonable judge could rule otherwise, or that a reasonable former attorney general could disagree.