Washing a ton of votes
Sorry to be the bearer of boring, anti-conspiracy news, but Byron York of National Review Online is on top of the Washington Caucus vote count.
The story I get from officials in Washington is that they did not stop counting votes on Saturday – they stopped counting votes for the night. This is what happened:
The caucuses were held in about 750 locations across the state, incorporating about 6,000 individual precincts. It was up to officials at those locations to send the voting results in to state party headquarters. This was the first time the state GOP had attempted same-day reporting of results; usually it took days to count the votes. Even now, the precincts have until February 16 to postmark the information to headquarters. Anyway, by about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, there were no more vote sub-totals coming in from all those remote locations to state headquarters. State officials had counted all the votes they had received, but many people out in the precincts had apparently called it a night without sending in results. So state officials announced what they had: with 87.2 percent of precincts reporting statewide, John McCain had 25.5 percent, and Huckabee had 23.7 percent. State chairman Luke Esser, a lawyer who also has a degree in accounting, declared McCain the winner.
On Sunday, more votes came in. Last night, the state posted an updated total: with 93.3 percent of precincts reporting, McCain led with 25.4 percent, and Huckabee had 23.8 percent. So the gap between the two men, which had been 1.8 percentage points on Saturday, had narrowed to 1.6 percent.
Today, state officials are receiving more results, and they hope to post them by 4:30 p.m. local time, 7:30 in the east. They tell me they do not expect the final result to change: it was close, but John McCain is the winner.
I don’t blame former Governor Huckabee for dispatching the lawyers to find out what happened, although a phone call might have saved his campaign some money.