Is this a classic case of 'burying the lede' from the Post-Intelligencer's Gregory Roberts, or is it now simply common knowledge that King County's handling of the election was merely sloppy instead of fraudulent? Their headline, "Elections supervisor may be fired," is obviously true enough, but given the hue and cry and continued whining from folks like Stefan Sharkansky, I'd think this would be given a bit more play by the MSM:
The investigation, by the local law firm of Williams, Kastner & Gibbs, found no evidence of fraud or intentional misconduct, but did disclose neglect of elections procedures, resistance to changes in the agency, communication breakdowns and poor management. [emph mine]
Maybe the heavy club of rationality has finally beaten down the rabble rousers and Ukranian flag fliers, so that this is no longer news, but I'm taking no chances-- let's repeat: An independent investigation by a Seattle law firm found no evidence of fraud or intentional misconduct.
They did find a lot of sloppy work at the middle management level, which is where people like Nicole Way resided, and a culture of putting off problems until "things slowed down," a moment which in the record turnout of 2004 came far too late to address them. Way is the supervisor who "may be fired," although once you get your name in the paper for possibly being fired it's definitely time to move on regardless. Way's assistant Garth Fell is now on Double Secret Probation, and he'll need to score a couple touchdowns or intercept a couple of passes in the April election cycle to avoid receiving a 2-week suspension without pay. Three lower ranking employees also received letters of reprimand. Bad plebe, bad!
As the P-I indicates, SuperNintendo of Elections Bill Huennekens is already gone--although curiously he comes out sounding like an undeserving fall guy:
Before 2004, investigators said, elections workers simply counted all properly completed absentee ballots they received, even if they could not find a matching signature. Because of past technological problems, 40,000 voter signatures were not registered in the computer program used for verification.
When Huennekens learned of that custom in early 2004, he ordered that ballots should not be counted without a signature match, as called for under state law -- a directive that rankled the work force, the report said. That summer, workers scanned most of the unregistered signatures into the computer system.
But in November, 735 absentee ballots came in for which no signature could be found on file. Workers set those aside and, again, did not follow up.
When the neglect came to light during the hand recount, Way went to retrieve those ballots -- but missed 175 of them, the report said. Ultimately, only 566 of the ballots were included in the final count, as time ran out.
So they were doing it wrong before, until Huennekens made them do it the right way. The rank and file balked, and the section head gave a vocal vote of 'no confidence' to inspire her team, before submitting guesstimate paperwork to Huennekens. Sorta takes the starch out of the GOP's attempt at trial to make Huennekens look like an evil schemer hellbent on giving Gregoire the election, doesn't it?
I'd be curious to see the whole report; I'll try and track it down if it's available. But for about the 100th time this year, let me offer Sharkansky and the rest of the electorially jilted some helpful advice: You lost; get over it.