Dean Logan resigns as KingCo Elections Director

Thus ends an era of 24/7 Republican attacks against Logan's Elections Department, and thus begins a new era of 24/7 Republican attacks against {insert new Director}'s Elections Department.  All hail the mighty Republican fighting machine.  The Seattle Times article can be found here, in which Ron Sims sez:
"I have known for some time that, despite his calm and collected outward demeanor, Dean has been personally hurt by the constant barrage of harsh personal attacks on his character and professionalism leveled by some partisan extremists and elected officials."
One thing Ron doesn't say, but I will, is that some of those partisan extremists ARE elected officials.

This is actually a major loss to the Elections Department, which needs nothing so much as it needs stability, precisely the thing Republicans don't want it to have.  (Congrats, morons, you'll keep our elections in turmoil for another few years!)  Dean Logan is one of the most highly respected elections officials in the nation among his peers, Democratic or Republican, appointed or elected.  Elections supervisors around Washington state leapt to his defense in 2004, regardless of their personal party affiliation.  King County Elections has improved a great deal since he took over.

What people forget is that Dean Logan took over a deeply, deeply fucked up Elections Department.  He had to fire the superintendent, not for performance (well, okay, for performance problems, too), but for dishonesty.  She's the one who failed to mail absentee ballots in 2002, btw.  She was finally arrested for fraud.  This is the turmoil Logan inherited.  He was asked to fix all this, while running elections every two months for xxxover 3 millionxxx{correction -} almost 2 million voters.  Oh, and don't forget to computerize the entire registration process and scan all absentee registrations into a database.

Since then, he's built the Elections Department up and made it work much smoother than it had in years - who knew 2004 would be the year every spotlight in the world would shine on his Department's storage bins?  Normal mistakes such as 95 lost ballots (out of millions cast) suddenly had historic importance and weight.  The mistakes in the 2004 election occurred in every county - Snohomish County had ballots appear, not from storage bins but from a storage shelf - but only King County came under the spotlight, because Republicans decreed it so and the media followed.  

In 2004, for those who still maintain we can't prove who won, he presided over the most accurate counting of ballots probably in history.  After the machines were done twice, we did it by hand.  The system Logan designed and oversaw, despite all the Republican whining and complaining, was agreed to by them and included them in every step of the way.  When mistakes were found (the 95 misplaced ballots, for instance), Logan wouldn't touch them until he had a Democrat and Republican observer in tow to see and verify everything that was discovered.  The hand count had 40 Democrats and 40 Republicans counting each and every ballot.  If their count disagreed, they did it again.  Once done, they both watched a King County employee count the same box.  The count had to match perfectly or it was given to another group to do it all again.  

The Republicans did everything in their power to manipulate those counts, sending every Gregoire vote to an "overvote" or "undervote" pile, bullying their Democratic partners, and otherwise refusing to follow the plan.  Democrats who did this were summarily dismissed by the Party, Republican bullies and cheaters tended to be promoted.  (yes, I've drifted into a partisan rant in mid-remembrance)  Through it all, Logan worked with both parties to ensure fairness, total transparency and accuracy, and quality.  Boxes of ballots affected by the Republican tricks were recounted, and in the end, ALL questionable ballots (undervote, overvote or unsure) were sent to the Canvas Board, with Dean Logan, Dwight Pelz and Dan Satterberg from Norm Maleng's office to make the final determination.  It was unbelievably transparent and incredibly difficult for any mistake or dirty trick to slip through that net.

Did you know the person who filed the actual lawsuit which decided the gubernatorial election (Borders, et al., vs King County et.al.) was on the Republican Party payroll?  That's right, Tim Borders was also an observer at the recount, not just a regular ol' private citizen as was suggested.  He was a nice young man who was very agreeable and fair until AFTER the recount was over.  Not only that, but the spokesman for the R recount effort, Dan Brady, would spend all day agreeing to what we all had ready access to, then would hold a press conference the same evening disputing everything he'd just agreed to.  You'll see more of Dan, he's Mike McGavick's campaign manager.  These are not, apparently, trustworthy people.  And now you know what kind of Republicans worked on the recount.

How do I know the hand count was professional and accurate?  I was there.  If you didn't see it, there's almost no way to convince you.  Don't believe me?  Ask RonK, Particle Man, willisreed, N in Seattle.  They saw.  They watched the same thing I watched.  Was it perfect?  Absolutely not; point me in the direction of any endeavor that is perfect.  Was it as good as such a thing can be?  I have to say, it was damn close.  Just for putting together those recounts, Dean Logan was worth every dollar the county ever paid him.  

Moving on, before Lori (Fibby) Sotelo's fraudulent voter registration challenges, which you should expect more of by late August/early September, Logan actually offered to work with her.  She and her gang were told to bring the Elections Department any names they found questionable so they could be researched and contacted and, if necessary, removed from the rolls.  Logan was more than willing to accept any help in scrubbing the rolls that anyone wanted to offer and made every effort to accomodate the Republican's scheming.  But alas, they prefer PR to accuracy, so they simply held onto their list and submitted it two weeks before the election, thereby screwing thousands of (largely Democratic) voters.  Still, Logan did everything he could to help folks get through the situation, keeping the Elections Department open later and on weekends and presiding over the farcical Canvas Board hearings where we all discovered the depth of Sotelo's incompetence and fraud.  (and what a bad attorney Diane Tebelius is!)

I'll say it again.  Dean Logan made every effort before those challenges were filed to work with outside parties and clean the rolls.  He tried to ensure voters were treated right.  The Republican Party wanted to make sure they got their time in the newspapers and wanted another chance to pretend Dean Logan is the devil.

Well, Dean, you're not the devil.  This writer knows you and respects you.  The Elections Department still has work to do to get better, but it's better than you found it, and in the environment of King County politics and under constant barrage from Republicans, I applaud the successes and your willingness to stay in there and keep working for the voters.  Los Angeles is better for this hire, and we're worse off.

< DeLay-Associated Group Spends $200,000 to Moot Out WA Laws | Big Fat Embassy in Iraq? How about a Big Fat Super Highway in the U.S. heartland? >
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The whole election recount and its ups and downs were greatly educational. While some have said that the elections department was corrupt and run by a bunch of democrats hell bent on creating a victory where one did not exist, the truth is far from this description.
IN fact the "great democratic conspiracy" made errors that prevented a correct and first count victory for our democratic gov. And these errors resulted in almost every case as a result of the scattered facilities used to house and count votes and the supervision problems associated with this long standing problem.
Another fact is that the cost of counting every vote and resolving every resolvable ballot issue down to within the final 100 ballots cast in king county was never funded and thus this kind of accuracy was never an expectation, at least in time for the certification deadline.
Even now, this is not the expectation and would not be possible without a huge infusion of staff and year in year out funding.
One question no one really has publicly confronted is the question of weather funding the elections department to make this expectation rational would be a good investment. After all, if you had a staff of trained people on board every election cycle that you would only use every 5 to 10 years when counting every vote in time could effect the outcome of one close race, these workers would have to be paid for 5-10 years in order to do just two weeks of work every 5-10 years.
Since the voters often do not want to pay for services they use every day this choice will always be made as demands on available funding are hammered out by the KC Council and executive.

Looking back over the whole experience, I do not see Dean Logan as the issue, or even the fact that ballots intended to be verified were in stead overlooked until late in the game, or people who do not want public records to reflect where they live. The real issue is, did we get to the truth of who had the most valid votes in the election and did the statute and the courts make this possible.
The answer is yes. And until Tim Eyman, the churches or the republican party want to fund a bond measure that provides for stable taxes to fund total accuracy in the counting of ballots on every election day in every corner of this state then the right can just shut it.  

by Particle Man on Tue Jun 13, 2006 at 01:37:08 PM PST

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I didn't actually participate in the recount process, which left me free to write an extended series of reports about its progress.  

Observing the day-to-day changes and updates in the count and recounts, I learned more than I ever thought possible to know about Washington State elections law, about how very robust and comprehensive are the procedures put in place by our legislature, how well the system devised to carry out those laws operated, how fair and evenhanded were the officials overseeing the events, how much better we have it than do many (most?) other states.

If Florida had Washington's elections statutes, Al Gore would be president of the United States today.  Even with the 2000 results in place, if Ohio had Washington's elections statutes, John Kerry would be president of the United States today.

The 2004 governor's race was so breathtakingly close that the statistician in me cannot say with great certainty what Chris Gregoire's margin actually was.  Dean Logan's actions and decisions, however, contribute very little to that uncertainty.

You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen
Blogging at Peace Tree Farm

by N in Seattle on Tue Jun 13, 2006 at 02:44:59 PM PST

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  1. as a community we are SOOOOOOOOOO lucky that you all stepped up to the plate.

  2. I thought ... un-highly of Logan. Thanks Switzer for changing that.

  3. I am not in the least surprised by the scummy tactics of hte thugs - however, aside from the misquided community members I've known and know who are Republicans, that party is run by a bunch of ruthless, lieing scum.  Therefore, I am not surprised, AND, I expect that kind of crap.

  4. These stories of your involvement are great, but,

( my stepfather used to call me "the black cloud" ... in '74, when I was 14, when I was pissed that John Dean & Erlichman & Haldeman &&& weren't hanging for what they had done cuz any of us poor people would have been strung up)

once again, I feel like a member of the Blanche Dubois party - we've always relied on the kindness of strangers.

5. there was a kos diary today ... what article? ... that Ohio was stolen from Kerry, and I thought

"Ya F$$$KING THINK?, should we tell them that Bambi's mother is dead too?"

I am just scratching my head about all this election stuff, cuz

I had just assumed that of all the millions going to the party over the years some of it was paying for election supervision infrastructure beyond hoping there is a Switzer, Ronk, Noemie, N ... all kicking around to to devote months to election stuff.

Oh Vey.



by rmdSeaBos on Tue Jun 13, 2006 at 09:01:43 PM PST

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...the problem.

I think the Julie Ann Kempf situations is not at all as simple as it was laid out.

I don't think the charges initially laid are still extant and I would not be surprised if Dean Logan, et al., needed a scapegoat.

In any event, I don't see Dean Logan as some kind of hero. He seems to me a relatively competent and quite political public employee. King county has a Byzantine balloting system and I don't see that there was much rational effort to make it any simpler. He seems to have presided over a pretty honest count but he should have been far more aggressive in defending the system, expecially in the Sotelo affair.

All in all, I don't see how it's a big deal if he stays or goes, except that Logan had been made a symbol by the right and he was a liability for King County Democrats, whether that was his fault or not.

by dlaw on Tue Jun 13, 2006 at 10:42:40 PM PST

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and was scandalized at hearing a Republican vote count observer crow to another  that, regardless of the outcome of that count, the election would still go to Rossi because the state Republican Party had another card to play.  These rank-and-file people were acting gleeful that they had some inside knowledge.  We were in a situation that I held in great honor and even awe  -- the good faith effort to discern the wisdom of the voters of Washington State.  They were acting as if it was their own personal little game.  I saw this over and over during that season and beyond -- with the Sotelo nonsense, etc.  What a betrayal of the public trust.

All the evidence I've seen indicates to me that King County's 2004 gubernatorial election was fair.  I know that the recount was fair and professionally done.  The behavior of Washington State Republican leadership -- and much of the rank and file -- has been shameful, morally bankrupt.  You are absolutely correct, Switzer, that the media decreed that the probable fraud that happened in Snohomish County receive a blackout -- whereas every trumped up and hysterical partisan accusation in King County receive full media coverage.

I entered political action in 2004 as a newbie -- not a partisan, just a concerned (liberal/progressive) citizen horrified over the Bush administration's undermining of our democratic institutions, middle class stability, and national security.  I was fully prepared to give the WA State Republican Party full respect.  I lost that respect during this process.  I lost a great deal of respect for our media, as well.  

What a shame about the personal villification of Dean Logan, too.  Kudos to him for his grace under pressure and for what he did for the people of this state.  

by noemie maxwell on Tue Jun 13, 2006 at 01:26:14 PM PST

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  • Doh! by switzerblog, 06/13/2006 01:31:40 PM PST (5.00 / 1)
    • rated you a 5 by Particle Man, 06/13/2006 01:40:45 PM PST (none / 0)
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