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Thursday, January 6, 2005
Better Dead Than Red (State) (Steven L.)
By The Permanent Guest Blogger: Steven L. @ 10:15 am

Since the election, everyone is probably as tired as I am of the entire Red State/Blue State analysis that has been pouring forth like well water in Disney’s Fantasia. This late in the process, I hesitate to even mention the topic.

However, this guest-blogging gig, lucrative though it is, cannot last forever. I need to think about the future — my future. Where some people see dissention and acrimony, I (from my lawyer training) see a lucrative opportunity. I would therefore like to take advantage of this free forum to announce my availability as an Executive Image Consultant for the New Democrat Party.

Shortly after the election (prior to the recent tsunami, widely considered the “worst disaster in human history”), there was a temptation amongst some Democrats to reexamine their policies and positions in an attempt to gain ground with moderate voters. This temptation, however, appears to have been fought off rather successfully. A majority of the pundits have instead focused on creating a new image, rather than making any substantive changes in their actual positions. This calls for marketing, and I would like to offer my services. As someone living in a very red state, I can assist you in repackaging the same message into something a little more palatable to a typical “red state” voter.

While I do not want to give away my services, I can offer a brief example in the hopes of showing the Democrat party my value. The real focus of this new marketing campaign, as put by a poster on one private message board I lurk on, is “how to reach out to the buck-toothed Neanderthals in those red states.” (only a slight paraphrase)

This is tip number one:

Avoid using phrases like “buck-toothed Neanderthal” when speaking to red state voters. There is the tiniest chance that one or two of those voters will crack your code and begin to question your attempts to drag him from the dark pits of his own ignorance into the light of reason.

Other phrases to avoid:

“ignorant, in-bred trailer trash”

“knuckle-dragging, cousin-kissing Jesus freak”

“racist, homophobic, red-necked Nazi”

I will admit that my advice is in stark contrast to that being offered by many consultants who are also out to help the Democratic Party:

“We must learn to speak to all of the people. But we mustn’t be afraid to sneer when we do it. . . . [U]ntil you finally learn to respect yourselves, we can’t respect you, and we therefore can’t be bothered to give a rat’s ass about you.”
- a self-proclaimed representative of “The New Democrat Outreach Program” Source

Similarly, Jane Smiley feels that it would be better to woo new “red state” voters in a “dialogue” with them by referring to them as some combination of “sexist, racist, and homophobic” or perhaps “greedy, pompous, or ignorant.” Source

There are more examples. They are, in fact, too numerous to even begin to cover them.

Okay. I’ll be the first to admit that those are pretty catchy slogans and I can certainly understand why Democrats find them appealing — but I think that I can do better. And really, looking back over the results of the past 4 years — could I do much worse for you?

So, please, when the “New Democratic Outreach Program” begins, please think of using my services. I assure you, my advice is not nearly as costly as the advice of the people you listened to for the last election.

Steven L.

Filed under: General, US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Wednesday, January 5, 2005
And the Point Would Be?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:42 pm

Via the AP: House Dems to Contest Electoral Vote Count

A handful of House Democrats plan a long-shot effort to snarl President Bush’s formal re-election by preventing Congress from counting Ohio’s pivotal votes when lawmakers tally the electoral vote on Thursday.


Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has sent letters to senators seeking their support for his plan to object to the counting of Ohio’s 20 electoral votes, which gave Bush his November victory over Kerry. Some Ohio voters have complained of Election Day fraud, citing a shortage of voting machines at precincts with minority voters, unusually long lines and computer problems.

“I am hoping that you will consider joining us in this important effort to debate and highlight the problems in Ohio which disenfranchised innumerable voters,” wrote Conyers, top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

The House Democrats’ chief hope of finding a supportive senator may be Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Her spokesman, David Sandretti, said Tuesday that she has been asked to sign the complaint “and she is considering it.”

Now, if there was no challenge in 2000, what in the world would be the justification for such a challenge in 2004? My guess is that Boxer will end up not going along.


Bush won the 2004 election by 286 to 252 electoral votes, with 270 required for victory. By law, the House and Senate will meet Thursday in joint session to tally the states’ electoral votes.

Should a senator and House member formally challenge a state’s results, the two chambers must meet separately and consider the objection. That scenario would still ensure Bush’s re-election because both bodies are controlled by Republicans.

A recount last week showed Bush winning Ohio by 118,457 votes over Kerry, according to an unofficial tally by The Associated Press. Some critics have asked the federal courts to force a second recount, but few Democrats believe enough irregularities can be documented to reverse Bush’s winning margin.

Kerry is traveling in the Middle East and will not attend Thursday’s joint session. In a written statement, spokeswoman April Boyd seemed to provide little support for Conyers’ effort.

“Senator Kerry conceded the election on November 3rd. … He has been very clear all along that voting irregularities must be examined, not because it would change the outcome of the election but because it’s critical to our democracy,” Boyd said.

In January 2001, some House Democrats challenged Florida’s electoral votes but no senators joined in the effort, dooming it.

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PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » A Tale of Turkeys linked with [...] uld seem that the real turkeys are the one working for Conyers. Maybe this is why Conyers wants to talk about the Electoral College And I think that Brain Shavings is correct: If he keeps ig [...]
Friday, December 31, 2004
Can You Say “Nuisance?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:10 am

Via the AP: Candidates Want Second Ohio Recount

Two third-party presidential candidates asked a federal court Thursday to force a second recount of the Ohio vote, alleging county election boards altered votes and didn’t follow proper procedures in the recount that ended this week.

Lawyers for Green Party candidate David Cobb and the Libertarian Party’s Michael Badnarik made their request in federal court in Columbus.

The two candidates, who received less than 0.3 percent of the Ohio vote, paid $113,600 for a statewide recount after the vote was certified earlier this month by the secretary of state. They have said they don’t expect to change the election results, but want to make sure that every vote is proply counted.

Earth to Cobb and Badnarik: this is a pointless waste of time and money. Go home and take up a hobby.

(And you aren’t doing the already tenuous image of third party candidates any favors).

Thursday, December 30, 2004
Washington Governor’s Race Update
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:04 pm

Via the Seattle Times: Gregoire declared governor-elect, but Rossi wants new vote

After three vote tallies and 58 days of waiting, Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared Washington’s governor-elect today. But her Republican rival did not concede and wants a new election.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, certified Gregoire, the three-term attorney general, as the winner of the closest governor’s race in state history. She won a statewide hand recount by a scant 129 votes out of more than 2.8 million cast.

But Republican candidate Dino Rossi, a former state legislative leader and real-estate investor, said the election was hopelessly flawed and that the Legislature should authorize a new election. He won both of the earlier counts.

Rossi also held open the possibility of contesting the election in the courts.

As painful as it may be for Rossi and for Washington Republicans, I am afraid that unless there is evidence of legitimate votes that have been uncounted, the only honorable and proper thing to do is to accept defeat and then work to win in 2008. It is the route John Thune took in 2002 (and that Richard Nixon took in 1960, for that matter). I thought that Al Gore’s court-based strategy was wrong in 2000, and I think that taking this to court for a protracted fight will be more damaging to Washington and Rossi than simply accepting the results.

Even without the court-allowed ballots, Gregoire won by 10 votes in the hand recount. Under the law, that is the method to determine the winner. A re-vote strikes me as problematic on a whole lot of levels. Rossi should work to fix whatever problems existing in this process and use that fight as a platform to further elective office.

Having said that, I have been most unimpressed with the statements I have read from the Gregoire camp, such as:

“This ain’t golf. No mulligans allowed here, folks,” Gregoire’s spokesman, Morton Brilliant, said Wednesday. “It’s irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don’t like losing this one.”

This is from a campaign that didn’t win until the third count. Yes, it was a legal count, but it was the third one–and of the three the one most likely to contain the highest percentage of errors (machine counts are more accurate than hand counts) and they make the rather unstatesman-like statement that there are “[n]o mulligans allowed”? I find that rather remarkable. Surely, gven the circumstances, a more understated approach would be warranted.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

The Moderate Voice linked with Around The 'Sphere linked with I'm afraid he's right
Pennywit.Com linked with Pennywisdom IX: Potpourri
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Oh No! Bush Loses Votes in Ohio!
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:07 pm

Instead of wining by 118,775 he has won by the radically lower total of 118,457. Oh, the injustice of it all!

Certainly finding that out was worth the $113,600 that the Greens and Libertarians raised and the $1.5 million that the Ohio SecState estimates it ultimately will have cost.

Source: Ohio Recount Ends, Shows Vote Closer.

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The Jawa Report linked with Anyone Game for Some Noodling? linked with [...] r Some Noodling? Filed under: Politics and Humor — Chad Evans @ 10:12 pm Noodling anyone? I’ll stick with a fly rod. Permalink [...]
Friday, December 24, 2004
Speaking of Voting Problems…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:42 pm

Via the NYT comes a tale of woe: Voting Problems in Ohio Spur Call for Overhaul

William Shambora, 53, is the kind of diligent voter who once assumed that his ballot always counted. He got a rude awakening this year.

Mr. Shambora, an economics professor at Ohio University, moved during the summer but failed to notify the Athens County Board of Elections until the day before the presidential election. An official told him to use a provisional ballot.

But under Ohio law, provisional ballots are valid only when cast from a voter’s correct precinct. Mr. Shambora was given a ballot for the wrong precinct, a fact he did not learn until after the election. Two weeks later, the board discarded his vote, adding him to a list of more than 300 provisional ballots that were rejected in that heavily Democratic county.

“It seems like such a confused system,” said Mr. Shambora, a John Kerry supporter who blames himself for the mistake. “Maybe if enough people’s votes had counted, the election might have turned out differently.”

This is just plain silly: this isn’t a “confused system”–Professor Shambora should have registered to vote at his new address when he moved back in the summer. One of the first things I do when I move is change my voter registration so that I don’t get to election day and not be able to vote–because if I move and fail to fill out a 3×5 card with my address and such and then I don’t get to vote, it’s my fault.

To describe the professor as a “diligent voter” in the story is ridiculous: the man failed to engage in a fundamental aspect of the system: registering to vote. Gee whiz, the guy has a Ph.D. in economics–it is hardly unreasonable to assume that he can take care of his own voting status–it isn’t like we are talking about the tax code here. If this is the best vignette that the reporter could find to lead the story, then I am thinkging that things are largely fine in Ohio.

Indeed, the provisional ballot system, as I understand it, isn’t even meant for people like Shambora, who failed to properly register. Rather, it is for people who have, in fact, registered but the poll workers don’t have the appropriate records.

Now, I will grant, things such as the following are problematic:

From seven-hour lines that drove voters away to malfunctioning machines to poorly trained poll workers who directed people to the wrong polling places to uneven policies about the use of provisional ballots, Ohio has become this year’s example for every ailment in the United States’ electoral process.

However, the following reaction is a tad over the top:

“This has fundamentally shocked people’s sense of whether any election can be accurately counted,” said Daniel Hoffheimer, counsel to Mr. Kerry’s Ohio campaign.

The truth of the matter is that an overwhelming super-majority of ballots are properly counted and that there will always some level of error. No process involving human beings is perfect, so why should there be an expectation that a voting process should (or can) be perfect?

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Florida II: Washington 2004
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:16 pm

Here’s the bottom line in the Washington state recount: if it was valid for the disputed ballots in King county to be reviewed to assure that no vote had been wrongly discarded, then a statewide canvassing to guarantee the same treatment to all ballots which might have been wrongly rejected ought to take place as well.

In this close of an election is it wholly legitimate to double check to insure that no ballot was wrongly rejected. If a voter filled out the ballot properly and was properly registered, then their vote should be counted. It would be wrong to allow a clerical error to stop such a vote from being counted. Washington state Republicans who tried to stop those types of ballots from being counted were wrong to do so–and therefore open themselves up to charges of hypocrisy for seeking out such votes that may aid them now.

However, the state Democratic Party has demonstrated that the fundamental issue for them isn’t “letting every vote count” because if it was, they would be working with the Republicans to gather all such votes to guarantee that no legitimate vote is left uncounted.

Both sides have cause to be suspicious of the other, and so somebody, someone is going to have to display leadership and diplomacy and try to start some healing. Gregoire giving Rossi the advice that he should conceed doesn’t qualify.

Sadly, Rossi is correct:

“I know many Washingtonians are hoping this will end soon, but I’m also sure that people across this state want a clean election and a legitimate governor-elect,” Rossi said after the final tally from a grueling hand count was announced Thursday. “At this point, we have neither.”

Meanwhile, Gregoire is missing the boat here, if (and I emphasize if there are King County-like clerical errors elsewere in the state):

“The election is over,” Gregoire said. “I hope we can move forward, unite our state and address the problems our state is facing.”

Focusing just on King County smacks of the Gore-team focus on Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward Counties in 2000 (and I am missing one, I know). If one is going to allege that a recount is needed, one can’t focus on counties that are tilted heavily towards one’s own party.

James Joyner has more.

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Outside The Beltway | OTB linked with More Washington Ballots — In Alaska
CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Is It Over?
Thursday, December 23, 2004
More from the Front (i.e., Washington)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:09 pm

Brian Crouch, posting at Sound Politics has a video capture of a TV report showing a dubious “vote” in the Washington gubernatorial contest.

I am all for letting all the valid votes count, but there is sufficient ambiguity on something like this to get one pause. It could be an attempt to vote, it could be a stray mark–how can we really know?

If you can’t bubble in the oval (it is to the left of the name–granted on the screen capture it is hard to see), then I don’t have a lot of sympathy. For example, if we assume that the mark was made by a voter who didn’t understand they had to fill in the oval, how do we know that they intended to vote for Gregiore? Seriously: if one is sufficiently challenged as to not understand the oval, can we reasonably infer they the person in question is capable enough to understand which name the stray mark is supposed to be linked to?

Really: counting ballots of people incorrectly rejected by the system is one thing, guessing what a mark means is another.

Make it 10
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:09 am

Via the Seattle Times: Gregoire leads by 10

Dino Rossi’s bid to become Washington’s first Republican governor in two decades unraveled in a big way yesterday.

After winning the first two counts in the state’s closest race ever, Rossi fell behind Democrat Christine Gregoire by 10 votes in what was supposed to be the final day of an unprecedented statewide manual recount.

And he could drop even more after the state Supreme Court yesterday rejected a Republican attempt to block King County from reconsidering more than 700 ballots that the county said had been mistakenly disqualified.

Although, it strikes me that “not so fast” is the appropriate response:

Rossi and the Republicans vowed to fight on. They talked of contesting the results in court or pressing county auditors around the state to reconsider disqualified ballots from Republican voters.

“This is the election without end,” said state Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance. “This is the election without rules.”

Rossi spokeswoman Mary Lane pointed out that after Gregoire lost the first two counts by narrow margins, she called the race a “tie.”

“We’re not going to call this a tie but it is extremely close. It’s certainly too close to call and Dino is not conceding,” Lane said. “This election is not over.”

I must admit, the Dems do look too eager to claim this event as definitive when they did want to call the prior two counts as too close to call.

On the one hand, the whoel affair has the feel of “count ’til we get the result we want” but on the other, if it is clearly the case that ballots were improperly rejected, then I don’t see the basis for excluding them. Of course, if they are going to reconsider the rejected ballots in King County, they need to reconsider them statewide.

The Washington Recount
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:52 am

Stefan Sharansky of Sound Politics has an interesting post on the inner-workigs of electoral politics in Washington, specifically the manner under state law in which homeless voters are registered, inlcuding the fact that 527 of the 763 active voters in precinct 1823 are all registered at the King County Administration building,

While he notes that he isn’t alleging fraud (this situation conforms to state law), but notes that questions about the process of verifying the eligibility of these voters–especially since some give overseas mailing addresses.

When the result of the vote is 8 votes (or 42), such processes raise eyebrows, to be sure.

Go read the whole thing.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004
The Wasington Supremes: Count ‘Em
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:58 pm

Via the AP: Wash. Court: New Ballots Can Be Counted

Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that hundreds of belatedly discovered ballots from Seattle’s King County should be counted in the extraordinarily close governor’s race - potentially enough to tip the balance in favor of Democrat Christine Gregoire.

Which means: here come some more lawsuits as the Republicans will attempt to get other ballots counted.

Thanks to crushkerry.cpm for the tip/

Democrat Gregoire Unofficially Ahead in Washington
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:41 am

Via the Seattle Times: Gregoire catches Rossi, Democrats say

After losing the first two counts in Washington’s closest-ever race for governor, it appears Democrat Christine Gregoire has pulled even with–or possibly overtaken–Republican Dino Rossi on the final day of a contentious statewide manual recount.

King County, the last to complete the recount, is not expected to release new vote totals until this afternoon. But state Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt said last night the party’s calculations indicate that, with virtually all of the votes tallied, Gregoire is ahead by eight votes.

“Based on the data we’ve received, we’re confident she’s taken the lead,” Berendt said.

Republicans said they were still crunching King County’s figures and weren’t sure who was ahead. But they confirmed the margin is likely fewer than a dozen votes.

There are still the disputed 735 ballots from King County, which the court has yet to rule on. Further, if those ballots are allowed, look for the Reps to file suit based on a host of other ballots across the state which were similarly rejected.

Update: James Joyner has more.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

cash advance linked with cash advance
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Meanwhile, Back in Washington State…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:35 am

Via the Seattle Times: Judge blocks count of disputed ballots

A Pierce County judge yesterday sided with Republicans and blocked King County from counting hundreds of disqualified ballots in Washington’s absurdly close race for governor.

The ruling was at least a temporary victory for the state Republican Party, which sued to stop King County from tallying 735 ballots the county says were mistakenly rejected by election workers.

On the one hand, there is the feeling here that the Democrats of the state want to keep counting until they get the desired results (and there certainly have been some questionable “findings” of ballots).

However, if there were ballots that were incorrectly not counted, then it seems to me that they should be counted at this stage–indeed, it seems to me that that is the main purpose of a hand recount. If, as is noted below, there were votes that were properly cast, with signatures on file on paper, just not in the computer, I am not sure what the justification for not counting them would be:

County officials say the ballots were disqualified because election workers didn’t find images of those voters’ signatures in the computer system, and the workers failed to follow proper procedure by looking for the signatures on registration cards in the county’s paper files.

“These are valid registered voters who signed their ballots and got them in on time,” Logan said. “What weighs heavily on me is my administration made the error. The voters did nothing wrong.”

If true, those votes should be counted.

Thursday, December 16, 2004
Cahill Missed the SwiftBoat
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:05 pm

Via the AP: Cahill: Kerry Camp Underestimated Ads

The campaign manager for Sen. John Kerry’s failed presidential bid said Wednesday she regrets underestimating the impact of an attack advertisement that questioned Kerry’s Vietnam War record.

I would take it a step further (indeed, several steps): the Kerry campaign utterly underestimated the impact of Kerry’s post-Viet Nam “adventures” and wholly over-estimated the degree to which his service equated into an automatic view by the public of Kerry as CinC material.

To simply say that the SwiftBoat ads were the whole story is just further evidence that the Kerry campaign had some serious blind spots about their candidate’s career and how that, in turn, influenced voters’ perceptions.

Even beyond that: the Kerry campaigns’ over-focus on a specific slice of his biography made him extremely vulnerable to attack. It was classic putting all of one’s eggs in one basket.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Wizbang linked with Kerry Should Have Hired Me
And There’s Always the San Diego Mayoral Race…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:59 am

Via the LAT: Frye’s Unofficial Margin Widens

A two-day examination of ballots–requested and paid for by news organizations and Woocher’s clients–uncovered 5,547 ballots on which voters had written in Frye’s name but did not darken an oval on the line next to the name.

The registrar of voters did not include such ballots in the official count.

Even some voters who backed Murphy said the revelation of the two-day tally—although unofficial and nonbinding–made Murphy unacceptable to remain in office.

“Filling in the bubble doesn’t matter,” said Pat Lecoq, a law firm receptionist. “Somebody took the time to write her name in. She clearly had the most votes.”

First off: since Frye was a write-in candidate, it is less shocking that people didn’t bubble in the ovals. This is, therefore, a technicality

Second: it would seem that in such a case that voter intent is clear–I am not sure how one can argue otherwise. This isn’t an issue of whether a chad is “dimpled” or “pregnant” or whatever.

The problem here, it appears, is that the law doesn’t account for this eventuality of the write-in sans the oval.

And, of course, the whole thing is made especially complicated by the fact that Murphy has been sworn in as the winner. State law allows for a challenge to the election by January 7th. It would seem to me that such a challenge is likely.

What makes the whole thing even more convoluted is that Frye was a write-in candidate and there were legal challenges to her candidacy on the grounds that the city charter doesn’t allow for write-ins.

For a story on Frye’s candidacy go here.

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