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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Homeless and Felons Sway Election

Today, Dec 23, 2004, almost a thousand homeless and felons held a parade for the victory they handed to Christine Gregoire for Governor of Washington.

"This is a great day for the homeless," said Carol King, president of Help for the Homeless of King County. "Never before have homeless, and indigent felons, been able to vote in such large numbers, let alone sway an election."

Carol was referring to the over 700 votes uncovered in King County, Washington after the first election count, that were allowed to be added to the vote totals after the election by the Washington Supreme Court.

Just over 527 voters registered at 500 4th ave, which is the King Country Records and Elections Office. They registered as living there according to Washington law because they are homeless. An additional 48 of the new voters live at 511 3rd Ave, a known crackhouse.

"The homeless are allowed to vote like everyone else. This year we were able to register about 400 new homeless voters," said Elections Superintendent Bill Huennekens. "And the home at 511 3rd Ave is not a 'crack' house, it is a flophouse. With many different kinds of felons, not just narcotics traffickers.

"Luckily, we were able to mail out the absentee ballots to the military late, so many of them weren't able to vote. Did I say 'luckily?' I meant 'unfortunately.'"

We sought to interview some of these homeless, but it was difficult to find them, not having addresses. Though we did find a Jack Handsome.

"I have been wanting to vote for years," he told us. "I was apparently able to according to the law, but not having ID I couldn't, no one ever held my hand and filled out the paperwork for me. They registered and even voted for me, it was great."

At the 'flophouse' we talked to a few people. "The Republicans don't want us to vote," said Charlie Applethorn, "something about the 'law.' Well I have news for them, what kind of 'law' doesn't let people vote just because they've committed violence. The National Voting Rights Institute helped me to register and vote by using a different name. No one is taking my rights away!"

The parade ended on a sad note when it was discovered that Gregoire didn't need the homeless vote after all, since after 3 vote counts the King county election board, consisting of teams of 2 Democrats and 1 Republican, was able to switch enough votes to take 12 votes away from Rossi and add 47 votes to Gregoire by simply changing the standards halfway through the 3rd count, handing her the victory.

"Even though in the end our efforts weren't needed," Carol King said, "I like to think in a small way we still made a difference."