August 03, 2005
Tipping Point For Dean Logan

State law says candidates for elected office must be legally registered voters. But Seattle mayoral candidate James C. Garrett (a.k.a. Omari Tahir-Garrett) didn't have his voting rights legally restored after a felony assault rap for bashing then-Seattle mayor Paul Schell in the head with a megaphone at a community event in 2001, according to court records. The thoroughly inept political hacks at the King County elections department are at the center of the snafu, naturally - and now county prosecutors will challenge Garrett's voter registration. This may end his candidacy, but underscores how essential is Dean Logan's removal as elections chief. Well-documented errors in the 2004 gubernatorial election gained Seattle and King County national and international attention. These errors included illegal felon votes, unverified provisional ballots, lost-and-found ballots, and serious discrepancies betweeen number of ballots counted and number of voters accounted for. A court admonished that the culture in King County elections is broken. After for-show investigations and pronouncements galore, if THIS is not a tipping point necessitating the removal of elections chief Dean Logan, there is no such thing as a tipping point. The Seattle Times reports on the Garrett mess.

Garrett was sentenced to 21 months in prison, a felony conviction that automatically terminated his voting rights. County elections officials said their office properly canceled Garrett's voter registration when notified of the conviction in 2002.

After the conviction, the elections department also sought and received a judge's order to have him removed from the ballot. Garrett had filed that year, prior to his conviction, to run for the Legislature in the 37th District. But county records show Garrett registered to vote again in August 2004. When he filed to run for mayor last week, elections officials, following their normal procedure, checked and saw he was registered to vote and accepted his candidacy. They did not check to see whether Schell's high-profile assailant had ever petitioned a judge to restore his right to vote.

...Dean Logan, director of the elections office, said his department normally keeps a record for two years of people whose registrations are canceled due to felonies. The office then mails letters to people on that list if they again register to vote, warning that their registration may be invalid. In Garrett's case, Logan said, "it doesn't appear that letter was sent."

King County Executive Ron Sims: Dean Logan must go.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at August 03, 2005 08:54 AM | Email This
Comments
1. This is the caliber of people running for mayor with great quotes like this:

"Garrett responded in an e-mail that his "rights are not defined or proscribed by EUROPEAN SETTLER COLONIAL TERRORIST ESTABLISHED INSTITUTIONS HERE IN THE 'INDIANS' HOMELAND!""

I wonder how he would respond to why is he running for office in one of these EUROPEAN SETTLER COLONIAL TERRORIST ESTABLISHED INSTITUTIONS HERE IN THE 'INDIANS' HOMELAND! instead of running for some office in the Indian government. Anyone would have thought he was a native!

Posted by: fred on August 3, 2005 09:15 AM
2. This just puts a finer point on Stefan's excellent essay the other day - the "culture" problem is with management, not the front line staff that Sims and Logan have gone into overdrive to blame.

Two years ago, Garrett's cancellation upon felony conviction was handled properly and promptly, and the election office took the step of quickly petitioning the court to remove him from the ballot when he became a felon, to avoid any confusion as to his qualification for office.

This year, the situation has become a screwed-up mess. Garrett was allowed to register, but was not sent the proper notification by the office regarding his felony, and now a whole lot of tax money (our money!) has to be spent to send lawyers in to investigate Garrett's status, challenge his registration, remove him from the ballot, and (hopefully) fix the mess before the primary.

What is the difference in the two years?

Management.

The front-line staff involved are identical to two years ago. But the Assistant Superintendent for Voter Registration is different, as well as the Superintendent (Logan is currently serving as his own Superintendent after canning Huennekens.)

Do you not get it, Ron Sims? The guy you hired to fix the "mess" - Logan - has made the elections office much, MUCH worse!

If Sims can't or won't get rid of Logan, then it is up to us to get rid of them both the first week of November.

Posted by: Good Grief on August 3, 2005 09:18 AM
3. How many other felons are reregistering? Probably all the same ones whose votes were counted last November and many more, because they think nothing will happen and that their votes were counted!

Posted by: sgmmac on August 3, 2005 10:08 AM
4. "Good Grief" is right.

You can't make this stuff up!

Standing by to hear the lame excuses from KC Elections, principly a CYA spin followed by scapegoating an underling.

Posted by: Shaun on August 3, 2005 10:12 AM
5. If performance and accuracy was ever a standard in King County, every director and manager would probably lose their jobs.

The problem is what is driving actions and decisions in King County. Politics, friendships, and alliances overwlelm logic, responsibility, integrity or the public interest.

These same drivers influence decisions like whether Logan or other inept or biased county leaders should be fired or not. And until these drivers are changed to drive decisions based on the public good, honesty, responsibility, and logic, losers like Logan are completely insulated from the consequences of their actions, or inaction.

Posted by: Mike on August 3, 2005 10:54 AM
6. seattle is such a joke! gads...you couldn't make this stuff up. it would only happen here. this place *almost* makes berkeley look normal.

Posted by: christmasghost on August 3, 2005 12:32 PM
7. Stephan, it looks like the King Co. Elections Superintendent job is wide open. I wonder what they'd do if you applied. No one else has.
http://komotv.com/stories/38346.htm

Posted by: Scott C on August 3, 2005 12:56 PM
8. Fred--yep.
What's Garrett's mayoral platform or solutions? "Burn, baby burn?"

"Gee, I hate this oppressive country," says Garrett. (barista speaks to Garrett) "Yes. Double Latte, please." In he hops to his waiting Caddy Escalade with the $3,000 spinning hubcaps.

Tough being an opressed freedom fighter, eh?

Posted by: Jimmie-howya-doin on August 3, 2005 04:31 PM
9. What scares me is that Dean Logan drives on our roads. If he can't be trusted to handle the basic process of sending out letters to a short list of felons, how can he operate a motor vehicle?

Posted by: Jeff B. on August 3, 2005 05:28 PM
10. You guys lighten up... counting things and keeping records is hard work!

Besides, KC Elections finally corrected their website, which had Ms. Athena Dean listed as running for both Positions 1 & 7 on the Enumclaw City Council. Where's the kudos for fixing that, huh?

Of course, ya gotta wonder why they put her down as running for both in the first place... or why they think they have a prayer of catching double-registered voters if they can't even catch double-filed candidates.

Posted by: TB on August 3, 2005 06:33 PM
11. Not!!!
i know some real responsible people who can keep records

>DON'T MAKE EXCUSES FOR STUPIDITY!!!!


what idiot freak gave you information TB?

Posted by: andrew on August 3, 2005 09:47 PM
12. FYI, "they" didn't put me down as filing twice. A friend of mine, Liz Reynolds, and I both filed for position 1 within a few hours of each other, without realizing it, so I withdrew from position 1 and refiled for position 7.

I don't know about all the issues you have been discussing, but if KC Elections did anything wrong at all, they simply took a little too long (2 days) to show "withdrawn" by my name in position 1.

Posted by: Athena Dean on August 6, 2005 06:22 PM
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