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Published: Sunday, October 17, 2010, 12:01 a.m.

Specter of election fraud rises once again

Some Republicans may be worried there won’t be a revolution in Washington state.
They’ve grown so convinced of winning the U.S. senate race, that a loss could mean only one thing: cheating.
Yep, the ugly flag of election fraud is getting unfurled again by a few in the Grand Old Party still smarting over the outcome of 2004.
“We are going to have to prove our candidates got elected. We’ve got built in fraud with those send-in votes, oh yeah, especially in King County,” said a woman at a rally in Arlington with Republican National Chairman Michael Steele.
She’s not alone in her worry.
On Oct. 5, Fox News patriot Bill O’Reilly was talking with former House hero Newt Gingrich on which Republican challengers might win Senate seats and he hemmed and hawed about Washington state. Then he inferred there’d probably be fiendish behavior at work if Democratic Sen. Patty Murray edges out Republican Dino Rossi.
“I know how these elections go in King County, the Seattle area, and in Cook County, the Chicago area,” he said.
“Now, you may say — but I know how they go, and it’s not honest. It isn’t honest. So, if it’s close, the Democrats are going to — they’re going — and I’m not accusing anyone of anything. But I know the entrenched power in the Seattle area and the Chicago area is Democrat. You wouldn’t argue with that. The entrenched power is Democrat.”
Two days later, Seattle conservative talk radio dude Dori Monson picked up this baton of fear. That prompted Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed to get on the air to remind folks the state is no longer using the 2004 model of election systems.
Reed encounters distrustful voters more than he’d like. And their lingering emotions are being stirred up with Rossi’s presence on the ballot.
For them, the 2004 gubernatorial election Rossi lost after three ballots counts and a trial was stolen.
“It just shows how much it shook the confidence of voters,” Reed said.
Since then, there have been 180 laws passed to clean up the process and a statewide database deployed to keep felons off voter rolls, he said. King County overhauled its election operations and put a Republican in charge of elections: the former Chelan County auditor.
All those changes aren’t solace for those — like the woman in Arlington — who fear getting ripped off again like in 2004.
“Now, they feel it is a Republican year and they worry if something can be done to stifle it, and can it happen again?” Reed said.
Rest assured both political parties have their lawyers on alert, preparing for any and all potentialities.
There’s nothing revolutionary about that.
Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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