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November 30, 2012

Wrong Again, Coeur d’Alene Press

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:53 am

This morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper got it wrong.  Again.

In an unattributed article headlined Brannon seeks another hearing, the Press wrongly stated as fact:  “Jim Brannon, who lost the 2009 Seat 2 election to incumbent Mike Kennedy by 3 votes, petitioned for a rehearing Tuesday on grounds that the Supreme Court erred in its decision not to toss out five votes from people living abroad despite not knowing for whom the voters voted.”

Brannon’s Petition for Rehearing Pursuant to I.A.R. 42 clearly states, “The [Supreme] Court’s reasoning in determining this issue is based upon a misperception that the five “UOCAVA” votes are the ones that are relevant to the asserted Idaho Code § 34-2001 (6) error in counting and declaring the election result.  They are not.”  [emphasis mine]

Brannon’s Petition went on to explain that the five UOCAVA ballots were not the same as the five absent elector ballots that had been rejected (voided) upon receipt.

The trial court judge Hosack found that there were a total of 2051 absent elector ballots received, each in its own envelope.  However, among those 2051 absent elector ballots received, five were immediately voided.  Thus, there were only 2046 valid absent elector ballots eligible to be counted.  The district court judge erred when it failed to deduct the five rejected (voided) absentee ballots from the total number of absentee ballots received, 2051.  The election canvass, conducted by Coeur d’Alene’s City Council, incorrectly canvassed 2051 absentee ballots.

The basis for Brannon’s Petition is that five more absentee ballots were counted than were received based on the evidence presented at trial and accepted by the trial court.  To put it another way, Brannon’s Petition asserts that five invalid absentee ballots were counted.  Five is more than the three vote difference between Kennedy and Brannon for Seat 2 in the 2009 Coeur d’Alene City election.

6 Comments

  1. Bill, thank you for the clarification. Simply put, the number of absentee ballots counted is 5 more than the number of valid absentee ballots received and this has always been the case. This has nothing to do with UOCAVA, illegal voters or the price of tea in China. It is simple math. 2051-5=2046. 2051-2046=5. 5 is greater 3 and always will be.

    Comment by Jim Brannon — November 30, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  2. Bill, has it been determined how those 5 “rejected” voided upon receipt ballots were cast? If I follow you correctly they were counted in the canvass, thus as being cast for one or the other candidates.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — November 30, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  3. Ancientemplar,

    The five rejected (voided) votes were not cast. They were left unopened and presumably remain sealed to this day in their respective envelopes. However, the five envelopes (containing the voided ballots) were counted among the 2051 envelopes the Court agreed were received. The real question is where did the ballots come from that were run through the tabulators so that there were 2051 ballots cast, not just the 2046 valid ballots that existed. As Hosack articulated in his trial court decision, “No voter ever existed, and [thus] no inquiry can be made [into whom it was cast for].”

    Comment by Bill — November 30, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  4. “The real question is where did the ballots come from that were run through the tabulators so that there were 2051 ballots cast,”.

    Thank you Bill.I see it more clearly now.

    I think I know where they came from. They were run through before they were rejected and thus when the canvass was prepared the target number was 2051 so in the infinite wisdom of the “bean” the counting came out to the correct, “already established” number of 2051. No fuss no muss, everything is cozy and rosy.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — November 30, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  5. Ancientemplar,

    The big thing about the Petition for Rehearing, though, is the discrepancy in the absentee ballot count. The evidence presented at trial showed that there were five more absentee ballots counted than had been validly cast. It was those five votes in question, not the five ballots cast by people illegally under UOCAVA. The Press’s skewspaper article tried to make people believe that the Petition for Rehearing was about the UOCAVA ballots.

    The former County Clerk failed to keep the statutorily required record (see I.C. 34-1011) which, had he done his job as state law required, might have resolved the issue before it ever became an issue.

    Serving as the election board of canvassers, the Coeur d’Alene City Council didn’t ask any questions; it simply applied its then-common rubber stamp to blindly and blithely approve anything anyone puts in front of them. That was expected, of course, because the Coeur d’Alene City Council got the election results it wanted in 2009. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that if the incumbents (McEvers, Goodlander, and Kennedy) had been defeated by just a few votes, they would have pursued every avenue available to them to overturn the election. They might have succeeded, too, because both the Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh and then-County Clerk Dan English would have been working on their behalf.

    Comment by Bill — November 30, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  6. Where did they come from? Let us also ask why emails from Deedie’s (sp) computer were wiped clean and never brought into court? One might think the first question might be answered by the latter. That would really shed some light and cause some grief for the previous county clerk and whoever else might be involved.

    Comment by concerned citizen — December 2, 2012 @ 8:28 am

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