recallreed blog

This blog is established to recall Washington State Secretary of State Sam Reed for failure to perform his duty. You may comment and submit information on-line. If you would like to help, contact Linda Jordan, State Coordinator, at recall@comcast.net. People are encouraged to download, print and share the petition text with others but petitions for signature gathering can not be printed until the Attorney General writes the ballot synopsis and the sufficiency of the charges are upheld in Court.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Open Letter to King Councilman Steve Hammond

April 11, 2005

Mr. Steve Hammond
King County Councilman,

I heard you on the radio a while back talking about a "tradition" auditors used to have where they would file a discrepancy report with their canvass of votes if any errors had occurred during the election with ballots, machines, or at the polls. That is not a tradition it was and IS the law. It is called a narrative. In the narrative the auditor and canvass board SHALL reconcile one vote to voter or one ballot to one mistake until all errors are reconciled. This has to happen prior to certification and before they send their results to the Secretary of State. (WAC 434-262-070-090)

The Secretary of State, Sam Reed, is prohibited by law from accepting an incomplete canvass of votes from a county. A canvass is considered incomplete if there were errors and there is no narrative reconciling the errors. Reed is compelled, by LAW, to send the canvass back, over and over, until the canvass report is complete. The Secretary of State cannot accept a counties canvass or abstract of election returns without the required information and seal.


No county's certified copy of the abstract of votes shall be considered as complete for acceptance by the secretary of state until all of the material required by statute and regulation has been received by the secretary of state. (WAC 434-262-070 through 100)

King County's canvass report contained no narrative reconciling the errors; in fact I still don't think they have submitted one. Before Reed certified the election he was on public record acknowledging the numerous errors and discrepancies that had occurred in King County, so much so that he said he sent an employee to King County to check it out. “ In addition to the approximately 1,800 votes county officials can't account for, [Dean] Logan [Elections Director for King County] said up to 348 voters improperly put provisional ballots into counting machines at polling places before their signatures or eligibility had been verified.” (‘New error found in vote tally’ January 11, 2005, Seattle Times)

“But the issue of mismatched numbers in King County came as a surprise to him [Secretary Sam Reed]. And while he said some discrepancy is not unusual as counties reconcile records after an election, the number in King County is large enough that he sent a staff member to investigate.”(‘Doubts linger as Gregoire win certified’, Seattle Times, 12/31/04)

As a King County resident I am asking you, as a King County councilman, to write Secretary Reed and ask him why he accepted an incomplete canvass report from King County when he was forbidden by law to accept it without the narrative report reconciling the errors?

Why did Reed violate the law in order to accept the King County canvass? Why did Dean Logan get away with having, what 1,800 to 3,000 more votes than voters in his canvass, with no reconciliation? If there is an “informality” in the returns of any election, the Secretary can certify a race but only if it can be determined “with reasonable certainty” who actually won. (RCW 29A.60.130) Many certifications submitted in this election by counties to the Secretary had major defects, not small ones, but even if you tried to say all the defects were simply informalities Secretary Reed still could have not certified the governor’s race because he could not say with reasonably certainty who won the race. Take a 129-vote margin and add 1,800 more votes than voters in King County alone and that does not equal any kind of certainty.

This illegal activity and sloppiness has gone on long enough and under Reed's watch. On February 13, 2003 Secretary of State Sam Reed released a review of King County Elections (Secretary of State Report on King County) It noted problems with; computer programs (pg.26), procedures for operating equipment used to count ballots (pg.26), mailing of absentee ballots (pg.27), improving internal communication (pg.27). The report told King County what it should do to correct these problems. The Secretary concluded “The problems that surfaced in King County during last years [2002] election cycle threatened the fundamental right to vote,” said Reed. “The citizens of this state are counting on King County to embrace change, implement solutions and administer successful elections in the future.” (Exhibit 19 ‘Secretary of State Releases Review Of King County Elections’ February 13, 2003)

Despite this, King County ran amuck again in the November 2, 2004 election cycle. Felons voted, the dead voted, 343 provisional ballots were commingled with regular ballots, ballots that once were lost were found and it was not a spiritual event it was an illegal act, 1,800 more votes were counted than people who voted in King County alone, and to top it off absentee ballots were mailed late again. The Seattle Times reported that less than a month before the November election, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened to sue Washington State because it was moving too slowly in mailing military ballots overseas. At that point Washington was the only state that hadn't mailed its overseas ballots. (‘Feds threatened suit over military ballots’...January 10, 2005)

You must find out from Reed himself, why he violated the law in order to accept an incomplete canvass report from King County. The buck stopped with him and he let us down, he let you down. Please let me know if you will do this. We deserve to know why our Chief Election Officer so clearly violated the law.

Sincerely,

Linda Jordan
recall@comcast.net


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