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Pollsters give edge to Rossi, not re-voting



 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)
Jim Camden The Spokesman-Review

Polling continues apace in the governor’s race that won’t die. A few weeks ago, Democrats were gleeful about an Elway Poll that showed two-thirds of the voters surveyed said the state should “accept the results of the election and move on,” and three-fourths said there would probably always be some margin of error in counting more than 3 million votes.

Last week Republicans could be chipper about a Strategic Vision poll that says among the 800 voters it surveyed, 56 percent believe Dino Rossi won last November’s election, and 52 percent would vote for him if there were a revote.

But 56 percent also told pollsters they were opposed to a revote. So in a sense the two polls are similar on the “let’s move on” issue.

The Strategic Vision poll also said that 54 percent of the voters have less confidence in the election process as a result of the gubernatorial controversy. A clear sign, said the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, the Legislature needs to pass serious reform, such as requiring everyone to show up with proof of citizenship and re-register, not some mamby-pamby “move the primary back a month” bill.

But after four months of the political parties dragging the electoral process through the courts over everything from mysteriously reappearing trays of ballots to felons who are apparently voting from the grave, it’s a miracle that 105 percent of voters surveyed don’t have less confidence in the system.

And if anyone polls on support for every voter showing up at their county auditor’s office with a passport or certified birth certificate to re-register, support for that may be in the single digits.

A political benefit

A political action committee bent on dislodging House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is spending a little money on cable television in central Washington.

Public Campaign Action League bought time slots on the 24-hour news cable stations in Yakima and the Tri-Cities, but not because they think DeLay will be wandering around the orchards, vineyards or nuclear facilities.

The ads are aimed at folks who might be inclined to contact U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, who serves as chairman of the House Ethics Committee, and pressure him to “do your job and clean up Congress.” They have similar ads in two other districts.

Hastings, who is traveling in the Middle East, hasn’t seen the ads, although a spokeswoman said “he’s aware of them” and hasn’t offered a comment on them. Because they are about Ethics Committee matters, his staff can’t comment, she added.

So far, the ad campaign has a fairly limited run on its tiny budget of $25,000. But the group is trying mightily to raise money for more commercials on the Internet. There’s also some suggestion that the Republican National Committee will be countering with ads of its own.

Youth movement

A group calling itself Washington Youth Voice is trying to whip up support for dropping the voting age by two years, to 16, and touting a bill in the Legislature that would amend the state constitution to do just that. Problem is, the bill got introduced near the end of March, so it is, by rules of the Lege, DOA.

Not a problem, says Adam Fletcher of Youth Voice. The bill is really just “a gesture,” he said.

“It’s an exercise to raise awareness that the idea is out there,” he said. Dropping the voting age has been proposed in some form in 10 states, he said.

They might get a hearing, but mainly what they want to do is generate some discussion between sessions, find some supportive legislators and come back next year for another run at it. They’ve dismissed any talk about going the initiative route, Fletcher said, because “there’s a little cynicism among youth” about a process that usually depends on having enough money to buy signatures.

Yep, sounds like they’re smart enough to be voting.

Vote of confidence

Some folks have been trashing Washington state’s electoral process ever since the governor’s race went into double overtime and ended with a 129-vote win for Democrat Christine Gregoire. Last week there was finally some suggestion that people elsewhere think Washington officials might know something about running elections.

Former Secretary of State Ralph Munro was named to the commission on Federal Election Reform, which is headed by former President Jimmy Carter and former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III. Munro had a hand in how state residents voted for 20 years as the state’s chief election official from 1981 to 2000.

The commission is designed to look at how the states are complying with the Help America Vote Act and look at ways to restore or build confidence in the electoral system.

Here’s a suggestion: Don’t have any races that end with a difference of .0046 percent between first and second place.

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