As my regular readers know, I have strong opinions, and express them passionately. Thus I take considerable care to get my facts straight before presenting them as such, for fear of later being made to look the fool.
So it is with some embarrassment that I must now admit that I have previously misspoken by referring to the 723 ballots as “erroneously rejected.” In fact, after considerable research and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that they were not actually rejected at all.
While I hope a King County election worker will correct me if I’m wrong, here is apparently what happened. During the original canvassing, those absentee ballots for which there was no signature on file in the computer, were set aside for later verification. They were not “rejected”, and they were not mixed in with the rejected ballots. They were sorted and segregated into separate trays, but due to some unexplained error, were locked into the cage with the rejected ballots, and forgotten.
This is borne out by the TV video of the 150 ballots being found, in the cage, in their own separate tray. And it also explains why none of these 723 voters received notice that their ballot had been rejected due to signature problems… because they were never rejected.
Thus King County Elections is not seeking to recanvass these ballots, but merely to complete the canvassing that was started during the first count, but never completed.
This is a subtle, but important distinction. To say that these ballots are being recanvassed, implies that the canvassing board is seeking to add more ballots to the count by overruling prior decisions — right or wrong — of delegated election workers. In fact, no decision as to the validity of the signatures on these ballots was ever made, erroneous or otherwise.
Unlike the 1500 absentee ballots that were rejected by election workers due to signature matching problems, the signatures on the “723″ were never examined… for there was nothing to compare them to. And unlike the infamous 22 ballots recently discovered in the bases of polling equipment, these are not newly found ballots.
The “723″ are ballots that were included in the canvass of the first count, but were not counted because their canvassing was never properly completed. They were not “rejected.” They are not “new.” Those that are determined to be valid were simply “miscounted.”
This is exactly the kind of error a recount is intended to catch.