Box of ‘ballots’ dropped off in Chehalis
In a country bumpkin-style poke Monday morning at vote-counting problems
in urban and urbane King County, several local Republicans brought
in a dusty wooden crate overflowing with yellow “ballots” marked with
illegible scribbled signatures.
“A guy at church gave them to me. Said he found them out behind his tavern,” Centralia leather and vinyl repairman Al Denison said to Lewis County Elections Supervisor Mariann Zumbuhl.
A quick inspection, however, showed the yellow vote-by-mail envelopes
to be fakes, covered with gibberish.
Republicans, including Sheriff John McCroskey, said the group just
wants to make sure every vote gets counted even votes that have
been sitting in the back of someone’s pickup truck since the Nov.
“There must be 573 ballots in here,” Denison said in a speech prepared
for the occasion, referring to the number of ballots found in King
County last week.
That number has grown to 735 since local Republican activists Rene
Remund, his son R.J., and radio talk show host John Panesko hatched
the prank Friday.
McCroskey, a Republican who soon will leave office to sell emergency
vehicles, said he was there to attest that the ballots had been kept
secure at least since Denison had taken them out of his truck.
Washington State Republican Party Chair Chris Vance has voiced suspicion about the ballots in King County, saying there isn’t sufficient evidence that the ballots were kept secured since the election.
After chortling over the joke, the local pranksters took the tongues
out of their cheeks long enough to offer a bit of serious commentary
about the growing ballot turmoil in King County.
Lewis County voted for Republican Dino Rossi over Democrat Christine
Gregoire by more than a 2-to-1 margin, with a few hundred votes for
the Libertarian candidate thrown in.
King County, by contrast, chose Gregoire by a slimmer 57 percent
to 40 percent margin, yet if the newly found votes are counted, that
margin is expected to tip the election to the Democrat.
“Can you imagine what would happen if Lewis County produced 700 ballots
six weeks after the election?” Rene Remund said.
Lewis County Auditor Gary Zandell can imagine, and that’s why he
wasn’t laughing at the joke by his fellow Republicans.
He said the problems in King County, where updated signatures weren’t
scanned into the computer, aren’t as likely in his smaller office.
Other problems can and do happen, he said, such as a proofreading
error that appeared on a third of Lewis County’s ballots in September.
“What’s that saying, ‘There but for God go I’ it could happen
here,” Zandell said.
He’s anxiously awaiting Wednesday’s hearing before the state Supreme
court over King County’s ballots.
“I have a great deal of compassion for my fellow election managers,” said Zandell, who has been the top voting official in Lewis County for 24 years. “As a body, I think we would like our elections stolen fair and square.”
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]