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December 29, 2004
Democrats Opt For New Election In Disputed Tally

At the end of the election, the recount discovered anomalies in the ballot totals -- leading to a large number of uncounted votes for the statewide office. As a result, Democrats have pushed to dump the election altogether and order a new special election to settle the matter.

Washington? We wish. Try North Carolina instead:

Following nearly two months of court fights and wrangling over lost votes, the North Carolina Board of Elections on Wednesday ordered a new statewide election for the closely contested race for agriculture commissioner.

Republican Steve Troxler leads Democratic incumbent Britt Cobb by 2,287 votes in final results from the Nov. 2 election. However, that figure was left in doubt by the discovery that an electronic voting machine error in Carteret County eliminated 4,438 votes that were cast early.

Democrats challenged the election, on reasonable grounds, it appears to me. The error came from the machine and not any fault or fraud of election workers, but losing more votes than the margin of victory is significant. However, the Democrats would have to have won those votes by a 3-1 margin in order to win the overall election, and since the county votes Republican, it makes for long odds.

The Republicans suggested that the revote remain just within the county where the votes were lost in order to avoid inconveniencing the entire state. An earlier order by the board requested this solution, but a judge threw it out. The three Democrats on the five-member panel argued that the law required a complete state revote. However, the Democrats didn't seem nearly as interested in sticking with the letter of the law when ordering the new election:

An order for a new election normally requires four votes, but board chairman Larry Leake and his fellow Democrats decided they weren't ordering a new election, only amending their earlier order, which required only a simple majority. Troxler characterized the move as a partisan trick.

So now North Carolina has to stage a statewide special election for this one race at a significant cost to the taxpayers. The turnout for such an election is estimated to be about 10% of the votes cast in the November election, making the resulting winner less than credible regardless of who it will be.

At least, though, that process will give a fair opportunity to both candidates. Too bad Washington Democrats don't see fit to give Washingtonians the same opportunity in their governor's race, which had a much smaller margin on all three vote counts and was plagued by incompetence, especially in heavily Democratic King County. The Democrats only appear interested in fairness when it benefits themselves, not the voters.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 29, 2004 12:00 PM

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» Washington State Election Vote Certified In Spite from Hoodathunk
In spite of the large documented discrepancy the vote was certified by the Secretary of State anyway and Gregoire is talking like everything's done. This isn't like the complaints of discrepancy in the Presidential elections. First, there's no docume... [Read More]

Tracked on January 1, 2005 8:56 AM

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