It’s difficult to understand how governor-elect Christine Gregoire feels she can represent Washington state’s citizens when the ballots that elected her were cast by … well … ghosts. That’s right. In the heavily Democratic Interstate 5 corridor along Puget Sound in western Washington, some 8,400 of the ballots cast don’t seem to belong to anybody. But they were counted.

You don’t have to live downwind to know that this election stinks well beyond the borders of Washington state. What’s at stake here is the disenfranchisement of an entire state’s citizens by phantom voters who show up only on Election Day, cast “provisional” ballots that are never verified, and live at the elections offices in King County and other public buildings. Amazingly enough, as John Fund reports in Political Journal – over 300 of these phantom voters actually share the same handwriting!

In case you haven’t been following this as closely as exiled Washingtonians, here are some of the details that have emerged since Washington state’s attorney general – that’s right, the chief law enforcement officer – has counted and counted and counted her way to a 129-vote victory over the people of the Washington state:

  • On Wednesday, the Seattle Times reported that “In King County, a record 27,641 provisional ballots were counted in the election; 1,791 others were disqualified either because the voter wasn’t registered or the signature on the ballot envelope didn’t match the signature on file” (“Election scrutiny reveals provisional-vote flaws,” by Keith Ervin)

  • An unknown number of provisional ballots were fed into voting machines, in some cases against election workers’ instructions, and in others with their connivance, without ever being verified, as required by law (and common sense). Ms. Gregoire’s “victory” was 129 votes, after two previous vote-counting losses.

  • An as yet unidentified number of Washington state’s military personnel serving overseas did not receive their ballots in time to vote. Several are documented in Robert Jamieson’s column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (“In the military, out of the ballot loop,” Dec. 29, 2004). As Mr. Jamieson states, “If a man or woman is willing to take a bullet for the country, his or her vote ought to count. Period.”

  • Elections workers “enhanced” more than 55,000 ballots, but contrary to state law, they permanently obscured the original marks on many, preventing a review of their decisions.

  • King County “discovered” additional ballots to be counted on nine separate occasions. Questions exist about whether those ballots were always secure, as required by law.

  • Former Washington Gov. and U.S. Sen. Dan Evans issued a statement on Dec. 31, 2004, supporting a special election. Evans, who was appointed to fill out Sen. Henry “Scoup” Jackson’s seat, insisted on an early vote by the people of Washington state to confirm his ability to represent them. Obviously, there is a big difference between people who want to represent a state’s citizens, and those who want power at any price.

Democrats seem fixated on President Bush’s 100,000-plus-vote victory in Ohio. But when dead people, felons, homeless wanderers and ghosts vote to elect a governor in Washington state after the third count by a margin of 129 votes, these “watchdogs” seem strangely unconcerned. Could it be that Democrats are more interested in exercising power over citizens than they are in representing the will of the people?

Voting fraud doesn’t have to be perpetrated by elections workers – although they certainly have motive and opportunity. It can be perpetrated by individuals acting alone or in concert toward a common goal. Soundpolitics.com refers to this as “distributed voter fraud,” and they offer statistical analysis to make their point.

What is perhaps most disgraceful is that large-scale voter registration fraud in western Washington was exposed in two special reports aired on Seattle’s KING5 Television in early 1998. I verified their content and airing dates (March 2, 1998 and March 10, 1998) during a telephone call with KING5 on Wednesday morning. The station’s investigate reports found thousands of voter registrations at private mailboxes and business addresses – not residences as required by law. Elections officials expressed shock and promised to clean up the situation.

Six years, two major elections, and nothing has changed. It’s clear that it is time for the FBI to visit the King County elections offices and take handwriting samples. There may be individuals working there who need to go to jail for a very long time. This is not a traditional Democrat “get out the vote” effort among street people, homeless migrants (who by definition don’t live anywhere), and those spending their final days in hospices. Rather, it is deliberate fraud intended to undermine the legitimate votes of citizens and reverse the outcome of the will of the voters. It is beyond criminal because it strikes at the heart of the democratic system.

If we expect voters on one side of the aisle to say, “well – we gave it our best shot but the people rejected our approach,” then “the people” need honest assurances that legitimate citizens – not Gregoire’s ghosts – decided the election. As of today, we don’t have that, and we can’t get there from here. A special election is the only way out.

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