Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Discounting the Count

So Christine Gregoire was sworn in as governor today, and the State GOP, though deeply frustrated with the result, moved on to the business of state government and prepared for the next election.

Ha! I kid. Actually, the State GOP has spent the past two weeks flipping out, in a pyrokinetic fashion that has turned them into their own charactures of Democrats. A huge amount of money, media, and lawyers have been thrown at the problem. The low point was right before the Seahawks/Rams playoff game, when the revote forces ran an advertisement that consisted of flashing black-on-yellow text with sirens in the background accusing the election of being stolen. I tried to imagine such an advert running on TV in Ohio about their recent electoral messups, but then I remembered - Ohio has no teams in the playoffs! So its OK! Silly me!

OK, there is a tremendous amount of bombast going on even now, which will culminate with a court case coming up on Friday to have the election declared void and demanding a revote. Now, the problem is, where the Reps rail against fraud for the sound bites, the facts have yet to come up with anything major - there is, as they say, no smoking gun of organized corrupt activity (though there does not have to be a lot, with a 50-some or 130-some lead either way). There ARE errors in the election, as there usually are, but so far the State GOP has come up with a big handful of rhetoric.

"The dead voted in King County!" was one accusation that plays well on radio. The Seattle Times (doing an amazing impression of responsible journalism) checked into it - yep, there were some case of the dearly-departed voting, but no clear attempt at fraud, nothing on the scale of electoral officers cruising for votes in the Cook County Cemetary. More of personal levels of individuals using a mail-in ballot of the recently deceased to vote, since "they would have wanted it that way". And by the way, the Times reports, some of those Dead voted for Rossi. This has been the pattern for the past few weeks, when the Republicans suddenly became interested in the final talley. Accusation, followed by emptiness.

Now, the ultimate winners in all this may be what they call in the Chicago the Goo-Goos -the Good Government types. These are the civics-class wonks that want to make the system work without taking into consideration parties and partisanship. In Chicago they were regarded as quaint, occaisionally surfacing to challenge the machine at its most corrupt. In this case, Goo-Goos from both sides of the political spectrum are moving forward to help patch holes in the electoral process. Leading the charge is Sam Reed, our Secretary of State, who has already brought out a platform of proposed improvements.

For this good citizenship, Reed has been pilloried by the more vocal elements of his party. Apparently the Republicans feel we only HAVE Secretaries of State so they can tilt close elections. By eating their own, the campaign wing of the GOP is playing to the party's hardcore (who is none too happy with them), but giving the rest of the state a bad case of double vision, watching the party support elections at a national level and fight against them in the local.

So we have a Governor, and we have a court case for a revote. I can't guess the result of the suit, but in football, there needs to be sufficient evidence to overturn the call on the field. So we still stay tuned.

More later,