Manufacturing Votes in King County?

As Republicans are trying any and every argument that they can create to help salve their pain of losing the race for Governor, they seem to keep landing on the idea that the big, bad and corrupt King County Elections Division just kept “finding votes,” padding the totals, until finally, they had enough to “coronate” Christine Gregoire as Governor.

Listening to this screed all day made me wonder: Did King County add more votes to their final tally than did other counties? If I just accept the wailing from Republicans, I’d be left with the impression that King County must have, by magnitudes, found more votes than any other county.

Well…I decided to run the numbers. And guess what? King County wasn’t the lead vote finder. Nor were they second. Or third. Or even fourth, fifth or sixth. Nope. The top six counties to add votes to their final tallies were counties that Dino Rossi won.

King County tied for 7th place in percentage of total votes added to their final tally. Here are the top 10 Counties, listed in order of percentage of votes added to the final tally compared to the original count in each of these counties:

County First Count Third Count Difference % Difference
1 Adams 5,055 5,091 36 0.71%
2 Walla Walla 22,563 22,676 113 0.50%
3 Pierce 309,630 310,591 961 0.31%
4 Kittitas 15,922 15,969 47 0.30%
5 Skagit 51,590 51,733 143 0.28%
6 Grant 25,719 25,787 68 0.26%
7 King 874,928 876,452 1,524 0.17%
8 Asotin 8,622 8,637 15 0.17%
9 Franklin 15,812 15,838 26 0.16%
10 Pend Oreille 6,104 6,114 10 0.16%

If the Republicans have evidence of fraud, then let them make their case. But, if they don’t, then this not-so-veiled charge of fraud should cease.

King County was not manufacturing votes. The votes that the Republicans are clamoring about were legitimately cast, legal votes. To argue that King County should not have counted them is odd in a democratic election where legal votes are ALL that matters.

Is that what we’ve come to? In an effort to win at any cost, the Republicans are going to argue that King County shouldn’t have counted legal votes?


3 replies
  1. Lawrence
    Lawrence says:

    Ha! What an absolutely meaningless analysis!

    What does the percentage of votes added have to do with fraud? This makes no sense at all. By your own chart, it is apparent that King County added the MOST votes – 1,524. Is it your contention that adding 1,524 votes could not have affected a 261-vote, or 42-vote, or 10-vote, or 130-vote election? Last time I checked, 1,524 is 6 times larger than the largest difference in results in this election.

    The Republicans may very well have evidence of fraud, in which case they will present it to a court of law. And you can’t blame the 49% of people who voted for Dino Rossi for trying to keep this fiasco on the front page of the paper – shouldn’t everyone be outraged at what has gone on, regardless of the result?

    Allowing over 300 non-resident homeless people to register to vote in Precinct 1823 with a voter registration address and a mailing address of the King County Election Commission isn’t the least bit suspicious to you? You and I can’t have a mailing address of the county courthouse – yet we’re allowing people to vote in our election with no valid permanent address? What credentials do you have to provide in order to get a driver’s license in this state? How long do you have to live here to establish permanent residency? How about to get in-state tuition? Yet we allow people who cannot prove that they actually RESIDE in our state to vote? That’s not just suspicious, that’s dirty like Cook County!

    Enjoy it while it lasts, it’s only a matter of time before it is nullified and we all vote again.

  2. N in Seattle
    N in Seattle says:

    Well, yes and no.

    If your concern is the number of votes for named candidates, your percentages and rank-order look OK. But is that really what’s important here? I don’t think so.

    To me, the number of votes assigned to candidates isn’t the issue — after all, except for those from touchscreen machines, every one of those votes was agreed-upon by a Republican, a Democrat, and a county official. No, the interesting quantity is the total number of ballots examined by each county, the county denominators. That’s certainly what underlies the current Vance/Rossi bleating about “found” ballots.

    Comparing the initial and hand recount totals, as you did, we again find that King County didn’t lead all counties. It is, in fact, 6th — its 961 additional ballots coming to 0.11% of the initial count. But the identity of the counties ahead of King is rather different from what you report:

    1) Franklin — +95 ballots, 0.58% (your 9th)
    2) Whitman — +54 ballots, 0.30% (your 38th)
    3) Skagit — +128 ballots, 0.24% (your 5th)
    4) Kittitas — +33 ballots, 0.20% (your 4th)
    5) Grant — +43 ballots, 0.16% (your 6th)

    In this list, your #1-#3 counties placed as follows: Adams 8th (+4, 0.08%), Walla Walla 35th (-2, -0.01%), Pierce 22nd (+10, 0.003%).

    Either way, King County wasn’t at all out of line when compared to the other 38 counties. The GOP vilification, while not unexpected from the likes of Vance, is wholly unfounded.

  3. Timothy
    Timothy says:

    Lawrence…I don’t intend to imply that these numbers “prove” anything; but the accusations and whisperings (shouts?) of “fraud” and impropriety are growing out of ridiculous and erroneous ideas. Merely pointing out the number of ballots that King County “found” doesn’t paint the picture. King County is a huge county, with a huge population. Sure, King County added the most votes, but that is expected from the largest (by far) county in the State.

    Do I “blame” the 49% who voted for Rossi in exploring these things? Absolutely not. But, the innuendo of fraud is distasteful. The problem here is not fraud, the problem is a dramatically close election. That is not the “fault” of either side, but it stresses our system. Democracy works because the governed agree to be bound by results of elections rather than by force.

    And, btw, I’ve listened to the explanations of the “homeless” registrants in King County, and that, again, does not ring any bells of alarm for me. 500 homeless registrants? There are about 8000 homeless on any given night in King County, so seeing 500 of them registered does not seem out of line. I know that many people involved in the Tent Cities have been trying to become more active, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see an organized effort from these communities to register themselves. State law provides a way for the homeless to vote. I don’t begrudge them that. [BTW…do we know if these registrants actually voted, and in what numbers? I don’t know…let me know if you do] If you think it important enough, then work with the legislature to figure out a better way. But, I’ve heard nothing suggesting that this involves any type of fraud; if you or others have evidence, I’m willing to hear it out.

    Either way, this was a very close election. I haven’t seen any evidence of fraud, nor do I think that the other counties who proportionally added more votes to their totals did so in any nefarious way. These elections are governed by honest people who work hard, in public view. I trust that they are doing the best they can, with intent to be fair and honest.

    If Christine Gregoire had lost this last count, I’d have moved on and encouraged her to concede and to let the state move forward.

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