Washington GOP Caucus: Why Recount the Votes?

The state GOP chair is trying to stop the vote count, while Huckabee protests.
There's a developing thread of more than curious reports on various blogs that Washington state's GOP party chairman has been less than inclined to finish counting the votes in the state's presidential caucus on Saturday.

Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo notes that the man running the state's presidential caucus, Luke Esser, all-but declared John McCain as the winner with 13 percent of the vote uncounted. The hitch: Mike Huckabee was trailing McCain by a little more than 1 percentage point.

But that was this weekend. On Monday, state GOP chair Luke Esser said he was trying harder to get close to counting 100 percent of the votes, although it was an effort - despite protests from candidate Mike Huckabee who compared the episode to the old Soviet Union.

Then the story gets spicier. TPM's Paul Kiel was the lucky recipient of an e-mail that quoted Esser as a hyperventilating college student, when he encouraged outright voter suppression of less-than-human Democrats. Among the more quotable part of TPM's post was student Esser's rant on the eve of the 1986 midterm election:
"Years of interminable welfare checks and free government services have made these modern-day sloths even more lazy. They will vote on election day, if it isn't much of a bother. But even the slightest inconvenience can keep them from the polling place."
"And since, he wrote, "[m]any of the most successful anti-deadbeat voter techniques (poll taxes, sound beatings, etc.) that conservatives have used in the past have been outlawed by busybody judges," he was organizing a "Rain Dance" for conservatives that night."
A complete posting of Esser's collegiate statement was also found on

While many people may find the Washington state caucus drama entertaining or eyebrow-raising or loathsome or sadly predictable, Democrats have had their own problems with running caucuses this winter.

In Nevada, Democratic state party workers were turning away low-income workers at special at-large casino caucus sites because they didn't have specific work shifts that day - disenfranchising voters while possibly helping the Clinton campaign. And Clinton volunteers were told to lock caucus doors a half-hour early, another innocent mistake no doubt.
Steven Rosenfeld is a senior fellow at and co-author of What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election, with Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman (The New Press, 2006).