Election 2004 Denouement…


…is still taking place in Washington state, where hopeful Democrats are claiming that Christine Gregoire will beat Dino Rossi by eight votes to become governor.

"We are absolutely confident that she is going to be the next governor of the state of Washington," [state Democratic Party chair Paul] Berendt said….

King County elections officials said Berendt's victory claim was premature and that the data the parties are seeing hasn't been reconciled….

King County will be the last of Washington's 39 counties to report results in the hand recount of 2.8 million votes.

If Gregoire does win the statewide hand recount, it will mark an incredible turnaround for the attorney general.

She had faced pressure to concede after losing the original tally by 261 votes and the mandatory machine recount by 42 votes.

In the hand recount, Rossi was leading by 49 votes with only King County left to report its results, which consist of about 900,000 ballots.

Whole thing here, courtesy of Freedom News Daily.

Well, whoever actually gets certified the victor, I think we're all winners when an election comes down to someone named Gregoire vs. someone named Rossi. And certainly it's time to remember that apres the 2000 election, politics is as much about epistemology as it is anything else, a swinging scene out of Blowup for god's sake.

NEXT: The Cosby Mysteries Were the Opiate of the Masses

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  1. How can anyone be “absolutely certain” of the outcome of a race like this, as the Democratic state chairman claims to be, unless he has inside knowledge that the fix is in?

  2. Seamus, the story says “absolutely confident,” not “absolutely certain.”

  3. And lest we forget the scene in Goodfellas where Dr. Melfi is screaming in the apartment building lobby:


  4. I think that’s Carmella.

  5. “absolutely confident” or “absolutely certain”; a distinction without a difference. My point still stands. There’s no way you can have *absolute* confidence unless you know the fix is in (or unless you’re a fool–I’m willing to accept that explanation too).

  6. I just want to say, I’m absolutely confident Seamus isn’t building a grand conspiracy theory around a grammatical quibble.

  7. Yeah, I guess whenever a politician says he’s confident or certain of victory, it must mean the fix is in.

  8. Thank goodness the King county clerk found all those missing ballots between the cushions on his sofa. Millions of voters could have been disenfranchised.

  9. On the plus side, the election will be decided by less than 50 votes in any case, and the Libertarian candidate got nearly 45,000 votes.

    On the minus side, Washington State (where I live)just voted to have a “top two primary”. While many people seemed to think that this was a good idea, imagine thier surprise when the liberals find out that niether of the top two this time support gay marriage, or when the conservitives discover that niether candidate is in favor of smaller government or lowering taxes.

    Will they simply undervote the office? Vote for the lesser of two evils (isn’t that a sin?) and just live with lousy government? Or maybe, just maybe, decide that a party system isn’t such a bad idea after all…


  10. Absolute merely means ?perfect in quality or nature; complete.? So if there is a difference between confidence and certainty, there?s a difference between absolute confidence and absolute certainty. Confidence is ?trust or faith in a person or thing.? Certain is ?sure to come or happen; inevitable.? That, to me, is both a distinction and a difference. (Defintions from dictionary.com.)

  11. Apparently there is some phenomenom that makes votes cast for Democrats less likely to be recognized by machines than votes cast for Republicans. Some day science may have an answer. Until then we will just have to keep counting until we are confident the winner has won.

  12. bigbigslacker,

    That observation seems especially true in counties run by Democrats… This requires further study.

  13. Perhaps the funnies part of this whole thing is that if Gregoire gets elected, there’s a pretty good chance that Rossi will run again in four years (he’s the best the thing the Reps have in this state). If the Libs can convince all 45,000 people who voted for Bennett to do a write in, then we could easily end up with 2 recounts next time, too.



  14. I’m proud to say I voted Ruth Bennett.

    And I could care less if Rossi or Gregoire ultimately prevails. This whole circus has been proof that it is a sporting event, not the free election of a representative government.

  15. Seamus: you make it sound as if the outcome of the election is a quantum event. Nonsense. Aooner or later, someone will set the record straight.

  16. Perhaps the meaningful difference between the candidates is so little that we must choose little “meaningless” distinctrions as reasons to throw our support behind a candidate. Since Rossi as a last name appeals to me, I hope Dino wins. Rossi(e) Represent!

  17. (paraphrasing)
    “There might some fancy crypto-thing that would secure the audit log on the Access database.”

    Wow. Those are some L33T 5K1LLZ at Diebold. Obviously that system was architected from the ground up to be secure and tamper-proof.

  18. I keep waiting for joe to show up and explain why Democrats have a harder time casting readable ballos.

  19. The democrats knew what margin they had to make up, so they kept ‘finding’ new votes until that margin was closed.

    A friend suggested that votes should be counted, recounted and certified without any one person knowing the total– then at the end, the results are tallied- therefore no party operatives will know how many votes they need to ‘scrutinize’ into validity. Eh well.


  20. thoreau, it’s not that the voters have a harder time casting ballots, it’s that the election officials have a harder time getting an accurate count. First, more ballots get “spoiled” in Democratic counties because they tend to have older voting equipment. Probably not dramatically worse, say 1/100 of 1% of ballots are miscounted in counties with the best equipment, and 1/10 of 1% or less miscounted in counties with older equipment. But still, some slight difference. Second, Democratic counties tend to have larger populations, since they tend to be the counties that contain the region’s urban center. Thus, the slightly higher rate of failure gets magnified into larger absolute numbers. In addition, the larger absolute number of ballots makes dumb mistakes eaiser to make – it’s a lot easier to misplace one satchel out of 10,000 than to to misplace one satchel out of 40.

    Any balloting system is going to be something les than 100% accurate, even if the rate of error is extremely small. But in a million voter county, 1/20 of 1% of all ballots cast is 500 ballots. So even with a very high degree of accuracy, in an absurdly close race like this one (or Florida in 2000), it is possible for the tiny fraction of miscounted, uncounted, or double counted votes to be decisive.

    If a race is so close that a hundreth of a percent will decide the winner, figuring out who got more votes requires trying to smooth out the tiniest of wrinkles. These errors are more likely to occur in Democratic counties, so that’s where the extra scrutiny is focused.

    The Republican State Committee said they are going to try to get miscounted ballots in other counties includes. Good for them. If there are instances in which votes anywhere cast votes that weren’t counted, that needs to be fixed, and those votes counted. Though for the reasons I explained above, it’s unlikely there will be as many errors in the rest of the state.

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