Saturday, February 19, 2005

The 2004 Elections are still going on in some places

For most of the country the election of last November is long over. However, there are a couple of places where it continues. We've been following the election "contest" in the Washington state governors race, wherein the election first won in several recounts by the Republican Dino Rossi, but then lost to the Democrat Christine Gregoire in the final hand recount. Rossi filed an contest of the election based on lost of troubling election problems. SoundPolitics seems to be a reasonably good source of information, albeit from a Republican point of view. It seems to us at the LTS that the liberal side of the disagreement is trying to ignore the election contest and hope it just blows over. It seems like they hope that the longer Gregoire is in office the more legitimate she'll become in the eyes of voters. But according to polling data, something like 60% of Washington voters want a re-vote.

Here in southern California we have similar election situations. In Oceanside, a small coastal city in northern San Diego County, one of the sitting council members won the mayoral race, leaving an open seat on the council. Since then the debate was centered on appointing a replacement or holding a special election. Some argued that the third-place vote getter in the two other council-seat races should be appointed, thus avoiding an expensive special election. Others favored letting the people decide in a special election, especially since fully two years remain on the vacant term. In the end, the now four-member council deadlocked 2-2 on all prospective appointees, forcing the special election. The fact that they could not decide clearly seems to us to justify the special election. Small town politics are sometimes the nastiest, and Oceanside, while over 170,000 in population, has certainly got some politics and back-room deal making going on! It should be interesting to see how the the campaign, and the election plays out in June.

In San Diego, the mayoral race was decided by about 2,000 votes in a city of 1.25 million residents. The dispute was over a write-in candidate in the general election. First, the city charter prohibits write-in's in the general election, to ensure that only two candidates appear on the ballot so that one is assured a majority. The city election ordinance, however, conflicts with the charter on this point. A post-election challenge to the viability of the write-in candidate was denied, since the challenge was filed AFTER the election. There was a second challenge since the vote tally fell in favor of the write-in, if ballots incorrectly marked were counted. The courts ruled that the ballots shall NOT be counted, because state law is very clear on this point. However, appeals are likely since the Democrats backing the write-in think the "intent of the voter" should be paramount despite the law. No one realistically expects the appeals to prevail, however, they will go forward.

1 comment:

Lila said...

And as a resident conservative in a liberal state, I am extremely hopeful that Washington will get another chance to vote for governor. There are rumblings of the possible court ruling for a completely new election in November. But either way there supporters of both parties who would support a new election simply because there are so many discrepencies. For some it is about getting your candidate in office (or keeping them there) but for most, I think it is about being SURE the election is the will of most of the people, not "intentional sloppiness" that lead to the result desired by county officials.