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Ten ThousandThings

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 3,171
Loc: The Shining Void
Last seen: 9 years, 10 months
Washington State Election Fiasco
    #3447435 - 12/04/04 10:13 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

This pisses me off. Pretty much the same thing as Florida 2000 except since Washington (my home state) is strongly democrat they will probobly get away with it. Recounting again and again until one side wins is a poor and extremely unfair way to handle elections. If the 3rd or 4th recount shows Gregoire (democrat) ahead by 46 votes, would that be accepted as more legitimate?

U.S. National - AP
Wash. Dems. to Pay for Recount of Votes

By DAVID AMMONS, Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Hoping to void the 42-vote margin held by Republican Dino Rossi, Washington Democrats will pay for a second recount in the state's unsettled governor's race.

The party also asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to rule that all ballots be treated the same from county to county. That would mean considering some previously uncounted ballots, particularly in Democratic-leaning King County, which includes Seattle.

The party's nominee, three-term Attorney General Christine Gregoire, praised the decision to seek a statewide recount.

"We have a thoughtful system for counting every vote in Washington state, and over the next few weeks we will see it work," she said in a written statement. "It may take a few more weeks, but it will be worth it for four years of legitimacy."

Gregoire, 57, best known for her successful battle with the tobacco industry, trailed Rossi, 45, a former state senator, by just 42 votes after a machine recount was certified earlier this week. Rossi won the initial vote count by 261 ballots, a margin so close it triggered the mandatory machine recount.

Secretary of State Sam Reed is expected to order the new count on Monday and most counties are expected to begin the laborious job Wednesday. Reed said the count should be completed by Dec. 23 unless there are legal challenges.

Rossi said he was outraged at the prospect of a third vote count and a legal battle.

"This really is sad and desperate," he said. "How much do they want to put the voters of Washington through? We were elected and certified twice. I have faith in voters; Christine Gregoire has faith in lawyers."

State Democratic Chairman Paul Berendt said the party gave the secretary of state's office a cashier's check for $730,000 to order a recount of all 2.9 million votes cast for governor on Nov. 2 ? not just votes in selected counties. The money came in part from a flood of online contributions.

"We're going to count every vote in every county, whether it's a Rossi county or a Gregoire county," Berendt said.

The hand count is expected to cost the party more than $1 million, including legal costs.

Berendt also said Democrats would ask the Supreme Court to make sure ballots were treated the same throughout the state, referring to hundreds of questioned ballots, including provisional ballots and absentee votes, that were rejected by some counties.

1. "After an hour I wasn't feeling anything so I decided to take another..."
2. "We were feeling pretty good so we decided to smoke a few bowls..."
3. "I had to be real quiet because my parents were asleep upstairs..."

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Registered: 07/30/02
Posts: 1,364
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Re: Washington State Election Fiasco [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #3447467 - 12/04/04 10:21 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

Washington Libertarian upsets governor's race

Libertarian Ruth Bennett appears to have tilted the outcome of the Washington state governor's race by earning more than 63,000 votes in an election decided by a razor-thin margin of 42 votes.

In what experts are calling the closest statewide election in modern U.S. political history, Republican Dino Rossi was declared the winner on Nov. 30, following a mechanical recount of the 2.8 million ballots. He received 1,372,484 votes, while Democrat Christine Gregoire got 1,372,442 and Bennett received 63,416. The recount was required by state law because there was less than a 2,000-vote difference between the top two vote-getters.

Bennett says she crafted a campaign strategy emphasizing civil liberties issues in order to attract Democratic votes, and news organizations and pollsters seem to agree that she succeeded.

On Nov. 30, Secretary of State Sam Reed certified Rossi's 42-vote victory over Gregoire -- although the victory isn't official until the state legislature certifies it. The two candidates' vote totals are even closer now than they were before the mechanical recount, when they were separated by 261 votes.

"We think the idea that Libertarians usually pull votes away from Republicans is incorrect," Bennett said. "Our research shows that Libertarians -- at least here in Washington -- can also take votes from Democrats in the heavily Republican districts.

"There was a poll that came out shortly before the election that showed that 'other' was drawing more heavily from the Democrats than from the Republicans. And since I was the only 'other' candidate in the race, it seemed obvious who was taking votes from the Democrats."

Bennett said she deliberately targeted the Democratic candidate in order to win political leverage for libertarian causes with both major parties in future campaigns.

Asked about her strategy of tilting the outcome in favor of the Republican, Bennett said: "That's what I was aiming to do, and that's what it looks like I did." She aimed at the left by meeting with many black groups and focusing on gay rights. Her sole newspaper ad was in the Seattle Gay News, she noted.

A pollster for Rossi suggested that most of Bennett's votes came at Gregoire's expense, according to the Associated Press.

If Rossi wins, he will be the first Republican governor elected in Washington since 1980.

Bennett's campaign isn't the first time that a Libertarian candidate has affected the outcome of a statewide race in Washington: In 2000, Libertarian Senate candidate Jeff Jared was credited with drawing enough conservative votes to knock Republican Sen. Slate Gorton out of office.

In that election, Democrat Maria Cantwell drew 1,199,437 votes to Gordon's 1,197,208 -- only a 2,229-vote difference -- while Jared drew 64,734 votes.

Considering both of these elections, Washington Libertarians say, it should be obvious that a Libertarian candidate can tilt a race in either direction -- and they hope to force the two larger parties to move in a Libertarian direction.

"We decided in this election cycle to deliberately run to the left in some elections, to campaign for liberal votes," Bennett said. "We tried picking issues that we thought would appeal primarily to liberal Democrats. As an 'out' lesbian, and with the same-sex marriage issue being such a hot topic, I decided to focus on that issue."

She has also been active in the gay community, "so I had some credibility there and thought this platform would give me a little enhanced traction there," she said.

"With such a small gap between the Democrat and Republican, half of a percentage point would have been enough to skew the election. And from the information we have now, after the election, it appears that our plan worked. The Republicans certainly think it worked."

Though Bennett had a very small campaign team and raised less than $2,500, she got a lot of bang for her buck by participating in as many public forums and media interviews as she could.

She drew fewer votes than she did in her 2000 race for lieutenant governor, when she got almost 180,000 votes (about 8 percent) in a three-way race, but it was apparently enough to accomplish Stage One of her plan: causing the Democrat to lose the race.

The election hasn't been definitely decided: Gregoire and her Democrat allies have said they want to pay the $700,000 deposit required to start a statewide hand recount of ballots, but may not be able to raise enough money. The party would have to support the entire cost of the recount.

If the Democrats don't request a complete hand recount, both major parties will likely ask for hand recounts of areas where they think they can glean more votes -- hurting their opponents. They have until Friday to request a hand count, and must be prepared to front 25 cents per ballot for the requested recount.

No matter which party wins, Bennett said, she thinks the Libertarian Party in Washington will hold considerably higher political capital during the next four years than it has in the past -- and that's Stage Two of her plan.

"We'll have better negotiating power, because the two parties should see that we have the ability to hurt them in the next election," she said. "We're ready to do politics the way politics is done, by leveraging our strength. When you have strength, you don't just while it away.

"You don't disappear for two or four years, reappearing just in time for the next election; you take that strength and you work with it.

"We have already come to an understanding that, should the Republican win, that we will have his ear. We have some contacts within the Republican hierarchy, and believe he will be willing to listen to us.

"And if the Democrats win, we'll remind them that they won with a squeaker, and tell them to think about what the Libertarian Party could have done with a bigger budget. Either way, we'll be able to say, 'talk to us, or we'll get the other side to talk to us instead.'"

The Libertarian Party's strategy is similar to that enacted by the Socialist Workers party in the early 1900s, when that party pushed the Democrats to enact Social Security and other "social services," but with the goal of increasing freedom instead of increasing government, Bennett said, noting that getting elected isn't the only way to get the party's agenda recognized.

If Republican Rossi wins, the Libertarians will talk to him primarily about supporting civil liberties, particularly civil unions for same-sex couples. Currently, Rossi supports a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

On Nov. 3, Rossi's communications director, Janelle Guthrie, told The [Longview, Wash.] Daily News that she and other Rossi team members are "interested to hear what the Libertarian Party would have to say. Rossi is the kind of guy that if you want to work together in good faith, his door is open."

On the other hand, if Gregoire wins, the Libertarians would emphasize tax reform and a more friendly approach to small business, Bennett said.

Although the party drew enough votes to swing the election, Washington's Libertarians lost their "major party" status in this election by not drawing at least 5 percent in any statewide race. They can regain that status -- which will allow them to be included in official election publications -- by getting at least 5 percent in the only statewide race in 2006.

"We could very well take more than 5 percent in that Senate race in 2006, both affecting the outcome and regaining our major-party status," Bennett said. "We plan to do some serious recruitment and planning beginning in January."

In addition to candidate recruitment, striving to get the ear of the new governor and looking forward to the 2006 and 2008 elections, the Libertarians in Washington will concentrate on building their relationships with the media, Bennett noted.

"I have gotten more press with this election -- unfortunately more since the election than before -- than anybody has in this state party has gotten before," she said. "People who wouldn't accept my calls before the election are now calling me, asking me to talk about how we affected this race.

"I think we have some opportunities here. We certainly plan to build on the media contacts that many of us have made. We told the media before the election what the story was going to be -- that we were going to cost the Democrat the election -- and we've built some credibility, since that has apparently happened. We're now in a position of power that we didn't have before."

?When Alexander the Great visted the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: 'Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.' It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.?
-Henry Hazlitt in 'Economics in One Lesson'

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