Skagit County’s Sham Recount
When vote counting ended in the recent Washington State 2022 general election Legislative District 10 State Representative Position 1 race, it was agreed by all parties that under RCW 29A.64.021 a mandatory machine recount was required by state statute.
Per RCW 29A.64.021(1), Legislative District 10, State Representative Position 1 qualified for a mandatory machine recount because the difference in the number of votes cast for a candidate apparently qualified for the general election ballot or elected to any office, and the number of votes cast for the closest apparently defeated opponent is less than two thousand votes and also less than one-half of one percent of the total number of votes cast for both candidates… Kelly Moselage, Election Lead, Skagit County, Elections Department. 12/6/22
At the time and place established for a recount, the canvassing board, or its duly authorized representatives, in the presence of all witnesses who may be in attendance, shall open the sealed containers containing the ballots to be recounted, and shall recount the votes for the offices or issues for which the recount has been ordered.
According to Skagit County Election’s Office
However, most unfortunately and against state statute, the Skagit County, Election Department detailed the following “Notice of Recount” procedure for the Mandatory Machine Recount:
“On Thursday, December 8th at 10:00am, in the Skagit County Elections Department, Skagit County Elections will conduct a machine recount for the Legislative District 10, Position 1 race. A machine recount requires our office to look at the undervotes in the contest. An undervote is a contest where a voter chose not to vote. “… Kelly Moselage, Election Lead, Skagit County, Elections Department. 12/5/22
In our email correspondence, the Skagit County Election Lead further explained:
“Yes, that is the correct definition of a Recount, but you also need to consider what the definition of Tabulation is as defined in WAC 434-250-110. During the mandatory machine recount, we will identify and digitally inspect the undervotes in Legislative District 10, State Representative (Pos 1).”
* After our inspection is complete, we will retabulate the votes for Legislative District 10 State Representative Position 1 (WAC 434-264-010).
* If any votes are discovered during the recount process that were erroneously not counted or canvassed during the original count, the ballots shall be presented to the county canvassing board in accordance with RCW 29A.60.050.” … Kelly Moselage, Election Lead, Skagit County Elections Department. 12/6/22
The Election Lead clearly stated that only the undervote images (voters who did NOT cast a vote in the State House Position 1 election) were being reviewed and were subject to a “Recount.” The actual ballots that were cast in the Position 1 election would not be re-counted or included in the “Mandatory Machine Recount.”
On December 8, 2022, after the recount, the Skagit County Election Lead issued the following statement:
“We are done and accounted for all 181 undervotes. Recount Certification is December 13, at 10:30am. Some may be disappointed to what law states a machine recount does, but until the laws are changed, we can’t do anything differently”….. Kelly Moselage, Election Lead, Skagit County Elections Department. 12/8/22
OF NOTE: Very interesting that Republican LD 10 State House incumbent Greg Gilday finished .28% behind in the final vote tally – Only 0.03% and a few votes away needed for a mandatory “Hand Recount.”
Evidently in answer to the question, “When does a Mandatory Machine Recount mean counting actual ballots cast in a given election?” The answer is: Never, unless laws are changed…
This is absolutely ludicrous, THE “UNDER VOTES” ARE ONLY THE BALLOTS THAT DID NOT HAVE A VOTE CAST IN THE ELECTION FOR THAT RACE. In other words… Election officials are only “recounting” ballot images for the race of the VOTERS WHO DID NOT VOTE IN THAT RACE. Please at least pretend to have a machine recount and put the actual paper ballots through the machines!
These types of “recounts” are not genuine recounts and additionally do nothing to verify if the paper ballots themselves are counterfeit!
Flaws in the Law
It is very apparent that many of the RCW’s and WAC’s are intentionally written vaguely by Democrat controlled lawmakers and administrative agencies to reduce transparency. It is shameful that County Auditors, the State Auditor Association and the Secretary of State do not care about transparency for our elections and would rather have fake sham recounts in our state!
Is it any wonder why voters are distrusting of the election process and the officials that oversee and administrate our sacred elections? How long can we continue to trust a system and administrators that use terms like “Mandatory Machine Recount” but won’t recount the actual paper ballots cast by the voter in the required race?