‘Mystery Voters’ in Washington Governors’ Race

Rossi given fresh hope as ‘mystery voters’ grow (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Thousands of “mystery voters” in the counties of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark and Kitsap appear to be Republican Dino Rossi’s best prospect for challenging the legitimacy of the closest and most contentious gubernatorial election in the state’s history. The state Republican Party yesterday called on county election officials to explain what the GOP says is a nearly 8,500-vote discrepancy between county vote tallies and the number of people credited with actually voting in the election. “People ask me what would fraud look like? It would look like this,” said state Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance.

County auditors and election officials say Republicans have based their conclusions on there being many more votes than voters on preliminary lists, and they say much of the deviation would be accounted for as voter lists are updated. But they do not dispute that the numbers don’t add up.
And most agree they never will. “At the end of this, it’s never going to match one to one given the volume,” said Dean Logan, elections director of King County, which counted about 900,000 votes.

The current number is “larger than I’m comfortable with,” Logan said. But based on historical data, he expects the reconciled lists to include 1,000 to 1,500 more votes than voters accounted for even after the lists are reconciled. Logan said those unaccounted-for votes would likely be from military voters who cast federal write-in ballots and the 76 people in King County who participate in the Address Confidentiality Program.

I’d have to see the comparable data from previous elections to know what to make of this–it may well be perfectly normal–but it sure looks odd. One would think that the total votes cast would match up exactly with the total ballots counted plus total disqualified ballots. Certainly, it shouldn’t be off by a whole percentage point.

Ed Morrissey is right: “The election will have little credibility if the margin does not significantly decrease.”

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    Every vote doesn’t count, unless you also include all the votes generated by the rabid Democrats.

  2. Charlie Day says:

    When the discrepancies in the voting exceed the margin of victory by a factor of more than a hundred, not a hundred more votes but a hundred times more irregular votes than the margin of victory then no election can be considered accurate enough to seat a Governor for four years. There are more than a hundred felons who voted illegally. Pierce County alone had 50 and the other counties are not through counting. When thousands of absentee military ballots are mailed too late by King County to be received before election day by the troops then a pall is cast over the election. When third parties are allowed to have the names and addresses of provisional voters and to bring back handsful of registrations that they have “cleared” up the signature mismatches on, there is too much chance of fraud. This happened with several hundred ballots, more than the margin of victory. When the most populous county, heavily Democratic King County, withholds vote totals until all other counties are reported in and then “finds” ballots not once, not twice, but three times which just happen to overcome the lead held by the Republican
    opponent then the third recount of this election is uncertifiable by any reasonable and fair minded independent source. When over 300 provisional ballets were allowed to be run through the vote counting machines prior to having been checked for validity and all in a heavily Democratic County (yes King County again) and the number of those improperly counted ballots exceeds the margin of victory, then what possible action can be taken to remove the taint and smell of this election. A reelection coupled with well thought out changes in the election procedures is needed badly in Washington State. It is my understanding that a majority of 60 percent of Washington voters think a revote is appropriate. We should not have to march in the streets and shut down the government as was done in the Ukraine to ensure a fair vote clean of fraud and other mistakes. This is America and in America the vote should always be sacrosanct. If it cannot be determined beyond a doubt that the vote was fair and untainted then a revote should be held. We are also not Tammany Hall or Mayor Daley’s Chicago and we should not act like we are by refusing to authorize a revote in this case.