Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's over. Really. We mean it this time!

From Mari Schaefer, who was back in court this morning after a long night in West Chester:

It’s over. The Democrats have won the 156th Legislative District in Chester County — and control of the state House of Representatives.

At a court hearing this morning, Chester County Deputy Solicitor Thomas L. Whiteman read the results of the two-day recount:

Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith, 11,616; Republican Shannon Royer, 11,588. That’s a difference of 28 votes.

Shortly after, the lawyers for both parties agreed to drop their challenges, and the results will now move to the county election board for certification.

Smith, who was called after the court hearing, came rushing to the scene and thanked election officials for moving so quickly to recount the optical scan ballots and recanvass the electronic touch-screen voting machines.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Smith said.

Lawrance Tabas, the lead attorney for the Republicans, joked: “So, I guess we won’t be spending Christmas with you, your honor.”

For the full story go to

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

That was easy

From Mari Schaefer:

The recount is done. Finished. Over.

The Democrats claim that Smith picked up three votes and is now ahead by 27 votes.

This from Tom Andrews, a spokesman for Speaker-in-Waiting Bill DeWeese (D., Greene): “The methodical ballot-by-ballot recount confirms the earlier results. Barbara McIlvaine Smith won the election in the 156th District and House Democrats have a 102-101 majority.”

The Republicans aren't quite ready to give up.

A judge tomorrow will sort through 12 challenges and consider what to do about the 12 missing ballots. Still, the outstanding ballots aren't enough to tip the election - and control of the state House - back to the Republicans.

But, as one Republican lawyer put it, "Unless you are going to call one of us fat or unless you are going to say one of us is singing, it isn't over."

Life of a ballot counter

From Mari Schaefer:

After 15 years working on national campaigns, Paula Schultze got tired of long work days and wanted to do something besides "eating Chinese dinners at 2 a.m." Schultze, 52, moved to West Chester and became involved in local Democratic politics.

Now, she's counting ballots.

At first, she didn't know what to expect.

"Yesterday, in the morning it was pretty intense because it was all new," said Schultze.

But after a few hours, everything was running smoothly. The ballots, she said, were all in good shape and easy to count and read. They were not crumpled or man-handled.

Schultze did flag a couple ballots. One - a Smith ballot - she brought to the attention of the election officials because it was placed in the Royer pile when the ballots were being sorted.

"They all begin to look the same after a while," she said.

Schultze was prepared to give up her Christmas to perform her "patriotic duty" and make sure the ballot count was done correctly.

Now, with the last group of ballots on the table, it looks like she'll be singing, "I'll be home for Christmas."

Late flags

Uh-oh. Some problems are arising. The challenges, one person said, are now coming in like penalties in the fourth quarter.

Still, the recount should be done by 5 p.m.

Stay tuned.

A holiday miracle

From Inquirer reporter Natalie Pompilio:

They said it couldn't be done.

Election officials said it. Democrats bellowed it. Even Republicans, who wanted it, said it would take longer. (Personally, we reporters were planning to spend Christmas here.)

But it appears the hand recount of Chester County's 23,000 votes will be done by today.

Then officials will have to take up the issue of the missing votes- 9 yesterday, less today. And Judge Riley tomorrow will have to review the challenged ballots.

But the main task - the one that launched a thousand paper cuts - will be over.

It's a holiday miracle.

No. 2 pencil? Check.

This report from on-the-scene Inquirer reporter Mari Schaefer:

Note to voters: Read the instructions.
When you fill out the ovals on your ballot, fill in the entire oval. Don’t do it half way. Be bold.
Don’t circle the oval. It is like the SAT tests, you are suppose to fill them in.
Don’t initial your ballot. It is suppose to be a secret. Remember?
There is no need to write in a candidate already listed on the ballot. It just confuses things.
And, never try to vote for both candidates. It doesn’t work. You have to decide on one.
Three of the 15 ballots challenged during yesterday’s recount in the race for the 156th District state House seat were withdrawn.
The remaining 12 were reviewed by Chester County Court Judge Howard F. Riley Jr. this morning. His rulings were consistent with how the voting machine tallied the ballots.
“There is no change,” said Thomas Whitman, a Chester County solicitor, on the total number of votes.
The recount continues today as election officials hand count almost 23,000 ballots for Republican Shannon Royer and Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith in a race separated by 23 votes.
At stake is the control of the state House.
The challenged ballots fell into similar categories. Voters who put dots or checks in the oval, voters who circled the oval, ballots where candidates names were put in the write-in area, voters who filled in both candidates, and ballots where the markings for other races looked different than those for the 156th District race.
A Pennsylvania court ruled the votes must be counted by December 26. There was optimism today that the vote count would be completed by early tomorrow.
Both sides are keeping a separate count of who is ahead.
“We’re almost hitting 30 [votes],” said Clifford Levine, an attorney for the Democrats. “It is getting to the point of an absolute landslide.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dancing with the ballots

Editor's Note: The Count -- aka Carrie Budoff -- is off today. More from Natalie Pompilio.

A lot of people don't realize this, but there's a kind of choreography to a recount.

When the votes are separated into piles, everyone stands. The election workers sort, the party watchers watch, sometimes leaning over the table to review a ballot. The wandering lawyers go between tables and mark figures on tablets.

Then everyone sits and it's time to count the ballots in each pile. It's a lot like when little kids first learn their numbers and everyone watches them as they go higher and higher. Here in Recountville, they count in packs of 10. The low drone of "one, two, three.." underlies every other sound.

It's tedious work and not very exciting to watch. As Levine remarked, "If you can't go to Florida this year, you can at least recreate Florida 2000 in Chester County."

When they were facing off in court, Tabas and Levine were loud as they argued whether today's recount should be done by hand or by machine. But they're quiet this afternoon. Everyone is. Toward the end of the morning session, when people were confused as to what to do about the missing ballots, it actually got high school classroom loud. That's settled down.

And what did they do about the missing ballots? Nothing yet.

As of late afternoon, there were nine ballots unaccounted for. Of those, it appeared five of the votes belonged to Smith and the other four to Royer. (One observer remarked that, "Whoever has them should put them on ebay. A souvenir from the 156th.") Since the split was about even - and since they hadn't decided exactly what to do about the ballots that are MIA - the count is going on. They'll deal with it later if they have to.

Chester County has 29 voting precincts. It's 4 p.m. and eight have been counted. The three tables move at different speeds, and it's almost like when you're at the baseball game and they play that random race on the screen and you find yourself rooting for a blue car or a red or yellow one. We observers have made this sport in an effort to jazz things up. And Team 3? You are really letting us down.

One, two, three, four, five . . .

Editor's Note: The Count -- aka Carrie Budoff -- is off today, but here's a first-hand report from yet another Inquirer reporter, Mari Schaefer.
12:41 p.m. Back from lunch.
The counting — at least in one precinct — continues. In this precinct, the ballots were already placed in seven piles: Straight Republican, Straight Democrat, Vote for Smith, Vote for Royer, Undervote, Overvote, and Challenge. An election official carefully goes through each pile, sounding out each vote in batches of ten.
12:57 p.m. A challenge.
“I have a problem with it,” said Republican lawyer Lawrence J. Tabas as a ballot is placed in a separate pile. The Contested Ballot pile is small — less than 10 — but so is the margin of victory - 23 - so all things are relative.
The challenge ballots will be reviewed at 9 a.m. tomorrow by Judge Howard F. Riley in a separate room at the Chester County Government Center.
1 p.m. An emergency call for tape to do a minor repair on a torn Royer ballot.
A minute later another challenged ballot is set aside.
1:10 p.m. Louise DiFerdinando, 75, of Berwyn, peers through the small window in the door to the room where workers are busy dissecting the ballots.
She is quick to point out she is “the only member of the public” interested enough to come and watch the process. By a judge’s order, DiFerdinando is not allowed in the room. Instead she must stand and watch from the corridor.
DiFerdinando is used to standing and watching.
“Years ago I was the chairman of the Election Procedures Committee of the Democratic Party of Chester County,” she said. “I never lost interest.”
She used to stand and watch in high heals back when she was younger. Now she wears simple black flats.
“For me it is fun,” said DiFerdinando.
To the trained eye, there are nuances that make it interesting, she says. She has advice for the newbies:
1. Watch as the ballots are placed in piles and listen to the count to make sure they match up.
2. Don’t get too far from the election official counting the ballots.
3. Get a good angle on the action. Even if she was allowed inside, DiFerdinando said prefers her hallway vantage point.
1:36 p.m. A vote is recorded for Mickey Mouse.
2:15 p.m. At another table, the election officials are finished with stacking the ballots into seven piles for East Goshen 6 — one of 29 precincts. And there is one ballot missing. That brings the total number of missing ballots to eight.
Missing ballots.
Contested ballots.
That court-ordered Dec. 26 deadline is starting to look like a tiki bar in the Sahara — a mirage.

The Show Must Go On

Editor's Note: The Count -- aka Carrie Budoff -- is off today, but here's a first-hand report from the equally talented Natalie Pompilio.

8:30 a.m. No shenanigans. Or we'll call in the deputies.

That's what Chester County election officials advised before starting to recount the votes that will decide which party takes control of the statehouse.

That meant Democrats, Republicans, the press, everyone.

They need not have worried.

9:30 a.m. You've never heard 30 people so quiet. The only sound in the recount room right now is that of paper fluttering through the air as ballots travel from hand to their respective piles. There are seven: Straight Republican, Straight Democrat, Vote for Smith, Vote for Royer, Undervote, Overvote, and Challenge. Three tables in the room with at least six people hovering over each: two election officials, two Republican watchers and two Democratic watchers. Lawyers from both parties mull around the room. A line of other observers sit in chairs along the far wall.

Republicans challenged a ballot first, at 9:49. A short time later, they challenged another. A judge will now assess those votes and Republican lawyer Lawrence Tabas said he was confident both votes fell in his camp.

10:07 a.m. Problems.

Workers have finished counting the votes for one precinct and found they're short four votes. (Clifford Levine, the lawyer for the Democrats, notes they are all votes for Smith.) According to their records, they had 1,010 paper ballots. They're coming up with 1,006. The election workers begin to count the votes again, aloud, in groups of 10.
Levine: "It's one thing for a vote to change. It's another thing for a vote to disappear.")

They find three votes. They can't find another. All work at that table is frozen as they decide what to do next.

Then another table finds they're short one vote. (Another Smith.)

Then the third table, which had looked so promising, comes up five votes short.

Everyone seems puzzled: They hadn't counted on this. "Linda, can we look in the bag? Could the ballot be in the bag?" one election worker asked her boss. Linda answered, "I just looked."

11:07 a.m. All the tables are frozen as the Case of the Seven Missing Ballots is discussed by the lawyers. Tabas and Levine prepare to leave together. They're going to look for the missing ballots -- in the ballot boxes. "Cliff and I are going to go. We're going to check his hotel room," Tabas joked. "They already sent the FBI to my room and it was clean."

11:31 a.m.
Everyone clears the room for lunch - and to figure out what to do next.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Keep Checking

The (re)counting will begin tomorrow, so check back for updates.

The Count, however, will be in an undisclosed location with Speaker John Perzel until Thursday. Another Inquirer staffer will be blogging in her place.

In the meantime, here's some news from Inquirer pro Natalie Pompilio:

Democrats today filed a last-minute appeal in an effort to stop a manual vote recount of Nov. 7 election results that will determine which party takes a crucial Chester County statehouse seat.

But the Commonwealth Court quickly denied the appeal and ordered the Department of Voter Services to conduct and complete a hand recount no later than 5 p.m. on Dec. 26.

In their appeal, the Democrats argued that a manual recount - scheduled for tomorrow - could delay the outcome of the race and mean the 156th legislative district would be unrepresented when the House goes into session Jan. 2, according to the appeal filed in Commonwealth Court. However, the court's Dec. 26 deadline is designed to avoid that from happening.

Only 23 votes now separate leading vote-getter Barbara McIlvaine Smith, a Democrat, from Republican Shannon Royer - a difference of one-tenth of 1 percent. Whichever candidate finally wins the West Chester area seat will give his or her party a 102-101 edge in the House.

Bill Patton, spokesman for the House Democratic Campaign Committee, said Democrats sought a machine to retally the votes because "a recount should be done in the quickest most efficient, most accurate way possible."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Humans 1, Machine 0

Republicans got their way: A hand recount of 23,000 ballots in the super-tight 156th District election will begin Tuesday.

Democrats, who hold a 23-vote edge in the race and, as a result, a one-seat majority in the state House of Representatives, wanted a machine recount.

Read on, from today's Inquirer:

The Democrats may appeal yesterday's decision, attorney Clifford Levine said.

"We think this really plays into the Republicans' efforts to prolong the recount," Levine said. "We are very frustrated because we proposed a system that could be done in one day."

Earlier this week the head of Voter Services, Linda Cummings, estimated that a machine recount would take at least six days - which Democrats disputed - and that a hand recount would require seven to 10.

Levine also took issue with some of the recounting procedures. Democrats had proposed using machines to count the clearly marked ballots, and to have unclear votes hand-tabulated, he said.

"The hand count being proposed said if there are questions raised about certain ballots, however frivolous, those ballots don't get counted," he said. "Having all the votes count is very important to us."

Lawrence Tabas, an attorney for the GOP, said the narrow margin was less than the margin of error of the vote-tallying machines.

"I'm not saying the machines are faulty, but everything has a margin of error. Machines make mistakes," Tabas said. "This is exactly what we had asked for, and we think the voters of the 156th state House district are also winners because a manual count will offer the highest degree of reliability."

He disputed Levine's statement that the Republicans were trying to delay the final election result.

"What we find puzzling is in open court and filings, they demand an expedient recount, but through their legal maneuvering they've delayed this by 10 days," he said.

Tabas also dismissed Levine's claim that some votes would not be counted. Unclear ballots would be set aside and the court will ultimately determine their status, he said.

"No ballots are going to be discarded under any circumstances," Tabas said.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


As of 4:45 p.m, the hearing wasn't even close to finished, says Inquirer reporter-on-the-scene Kathleen Brady Shea.

The lawyers called Linda Cummings, the Chester County voter services director, to the stand.

She said a hand recount would take seven to 10 days, and a machine recount would take at least six days.

The judge then got called away to deal with another case.

More to come. When something actually happens.

After a Brief Hiatus

The Count (or should it be, ReCount?) is back.

A judge in Chester County is herding all the lawyers today to hear arguments on how this recount drama should proceed.

We'll post an update this afternoon. So refresh us later.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Take a Break. Read About Philly Mayoral Politics

Inquirer City Hall chief Marcia Gelbart guest stars in this spot with a dispatch from Pennsylvania Society on the mayor's race:

Three of the Men Who Want to be Mayor - and The One Who Doesn't - made their debuts Friday on the streets of New York.

There was businessman Tom Knox, bebopping around many an affair, his wife Linda in tow. Drinking a light beer at the ESPN Zone, he talked about two new 48-by-24-foot billboards put up by his campaign Thursday on Interstate 95. Then later, at a bash thrown by Blank Rome lawyers at the Hotel Inter-Continental on East 48th Street, Knox talked about his choices for mayor next year. "If it wasn't for me," he said, standing next to former City Councilman Michael Nutter, "I'd vote for him."

As for Nutter, he may be the only one of the candidates for mayor here to take the time and opportunity to raise some campaign cash, hosting a private roundtable Friday afternoon for those willing to fork over $250 for his cause. Later, Nutter also took part in one of the stranger events so far: At the Hotel Benjamin on East 50th Street, he was saluted for his City Council leadership by the very Republican Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry - the same group that last year honored one Rick Santorum. Praising Democrat Nutter's efforts in expanding the Convention Center, eliminating smoking in Philly bars and reducing the city wage tax, Rob Powelson, president and CEO of the chamber group said: "He's given up a lot to leave City Council. You're in a mayoral primary - there are no guarantees."

Last but hardlly least among the trio of officially declared mayoral candidates was U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah. Eyewitness accounts put Fattah in New York nearly the entire day Friday - at the Waldorf lobby about 10 a.m. and then again at 2:30 p.m., and at the rock-n-roll party thrown by labor leader John J. Dougherty's electricians' union, again at the Waldorf, about 9:30 p.m. Point being: If Fattah was in New York all day, he certainly wasn't in D.C., where his colleagues were casting over 20 votes - incuding one to keep the federal government from shutting down - on what was expected to be the last day before the House adjourns.

One of those Fattah colleagues, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, is expected to make it to Manhattan mid-Saturday morning - depending on how late into the wee hours the House went Friday night.

Back to Dougherty. Those familiar elect-Dougherty-mayor-in-2007 flyers made appearances outside the ESPN Zone reception - but Dougherty didn't. Despite the party hosted by his union, Local 98 political director Bobby Henon reported that Doc stayed back in Philly to care for his mother, who has been in the hospital with emphysema for the last two weeks.

Now, for The One Who Doesn't want to be Philadephia's mayor next year. Jonathan Saidel, after quitting the race last Sunday, was sighted by many yesterday - but said very little. Here's what a conversation with him was like inside the Bull and the Bear bar at the Waldorf.

MG: So what are you going to do now?
JS: I really don't know what I'm going to do.

MG: Will you endorse anyone for mayor?
JS: I don't know.

MG: What will you do with the $1.2 million you raised for your campaign?
JS: I don't know.

MG: Your friend Bob Brady said you didn't return his phone call.
JS: I've been busy.

MG: Will you run for another elected office sometime?
JS: I might.

MG: Do you regret quitting the race?
JS: I don't think in regretful terms.

Perzel Speaks ...

After nearly two weeks of silence, his first words were surprising.

"It's over. They won," House Speaker (for now) John Perzel said Friday night, hunted down at Pennsylvania Society in New York City at a reception sponsored by the law firm of Blank Rome.

He made the statement with a straight face. And walked away.

But that is so not the case, right? Not when the rumor mill is churning with names of potential Democratic defectors who might support him or stay home on the day of the speaker vote. Not with Republican legal team expanding like the Yankees payroll.

So the questions were posed again: What are you doing to hold onto your majority?

"You know I can't tell you that."

Will you stay in the House even if you lose the majority?

"I can't answer your questions."

Are you talking to Democrats?


He said that with a straight face, too.

"I promise it will be entertaining," Perzel added later.

This time, he smiled.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

We Heart Perzel

Will that get you to come out?

Probably not, we realize, but it conveys our desire to get word of your existence. We promise to call you Mr. Speaker, maybe even Moses (see Democratic Shuffle to the Promised Land below).

Ever since last Tuesday, when House Republicans appeared to have lost their majority, you have been so MIA.

Inquirer pro Mario Cattabiani has called so many times, you're probably contemplating a restraining order. More than a dozen times between your home, cell phone and spokesman. No response.

Now we hear that you might emerge from your undisclosed arm-twisting location and travel to this weekend's Pennsylvania Society gathering in New York.


Crisp $100 Bills

Republican lawyers arrived at the Chester County courthouse yesterday with a stack of 'em, says on-the-scene reporter Nancy Petersen.

They had to put down a $100 cash deposit for each petition. They filed 29, one for every precinct.

GOP lawyers Lawrence Tabas and Nick D'Alessandro arrived 20 minutes after the prothonotary's office should have closed for the day.

Livin' large.

The GOP also added to their legal lineup.

Former Supreme Court Justice and former county Republican Chairman William Lamb - he's still Justice Lamb around West Chester - will hit for the red team.

Lengthy and Laborious, Indeed

By the Count's count, a ballot-by-ballot review could take daaaaaaays.

She has some lines out to statisticians and mathemeticians (people who actually know something), but that won't slow down the prognosticating process.

If you go literally one ballot at a time, and take an average of 15 seconds to review each one, county workers and lawyers could plough through 240 an hour, 1,680 in a seven-hour work day (allow an hour for lunch and danish breaks), and 8,400 in a week.

As swift as a goose on the Schuylkill during rush hour, you might get done in about three weeks. Or not.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

It's Official

Republicans file for a recount.

By hand.

In all 29 precincts.

Inquirer diva Nancy Petersen reports:

Just days after the Chester County Board of Elections declared the results of the Nov. 7 election official, Republicans have asked the court to order all ballots in the 156th state House race to be recounted by hand. The petitions for were filed in the Chester County courthouse late this afternoon.

“We want a full and complete count,” said GOP attorney Lawrence Tabas. “The Democrats have said repeatedly that we are trying to restrict votes. That is not true.”

In their recount request, the Republicans allege that since “the candidates’ vote totals are separated by approximately one tenth of one percent of the votes cast,” that fraud or error was committed in the computation.

Read more about it in tomorrow's Inquirer.

Democratic Shuffle To The Promised Land

If Democrats get their wish and hold onto their House majority in a recount, Philadelphia Rep. Mark Cohen gets a promotion, a more public role and a $10,000 pay raise.

The move to Majority Whip would make him Philadelphia's highest-ranking House member, reports Inquirer Harrisburg vet Amy Worden.

Cohen would fill the highly-polished cowboy boots of defeated Rep. Mike Veon (D. Beaver), who fell victim to pay-raise furor in November.

Speaking of which, Team Veon sent out a press release today with the subject line, "The Promised Land."

Intriguing, the Count thought, so she read on.

Team Veon will be sending out a final few emails this month "as a way to say thanks" to their man.

The first shout-out was a quote from Dave Patti, President of Pennsylvanians for Effective Government, to the Beaver County Times: "Mike Veon is the Moses of his caucus. He got to see the promised land of Democratic control, but he doesn't get to go in."

Yes, readers, he said Moses.

Forget a Possible Recount

Choose a new speaker!

Today, the House Democratic Caucus nominated Minority Leader Bill "Love that Thesaurus" DeWeese to the top spot, which will be formally decided in January.

Democrats seem to be trying to create a sense of inevitability - their party is in charge, so no need to pay much attention to the Chester County sideshow.

“Today’s gathering was convened so that we can meet the wishes of voters across the Commonwealth who decided November 7 that they want a Democratic majority to lead the state House of Representatives,” DeWeese said in a statement. “While our margin is just one seat, in fact this year’s election saw the largest change of seats from one party to the other since 1978 and represents a call for change from the past 12 years of Republican leadership.”

Two things should be noted:

DeWeese has been in charge of the Democratic caucus for the last 13 years.

Republicans did the same thing as Democrats. Two weeks ago, claiming a majority in the House, the GOP caucus nominated John Perzel for another term as speaker.

Human v. Machine

If a recount is granted, the lawyers will go to battle on how to do it. One method (manual) could favor Republicans, the other (machine) could help Democrats.

There's nothing in state or county statutes that says how a recount should be done. A Court of Common Pleas judge will hear their arguments and decide.

The Inquirer, via the Count, reported this morning on the teenytiny vote margin and the role played by optical scan machines in the soap opera.

"I would say this is very close to a 50-50 shot that this will be reversed," said Stephen Ansolabehere, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology political science professor and member of the CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project.

You can read the whole story here.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Another day, another lawsuit

The day wouldn't feel complete without a legal filing to report.

Democrats appealed the decision last week by the Republican-controlled Board of Elections to dismiss 14 provisional and absentee ballots from the final vote count.

This matters because the ballots were cast by Democrats or independents, which means including them would likely increase Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith's 23-vote lead over Republican Shannon Royer.

Meanwhile, Smith is in Harrisburg today for her orientation.

Royer, too, attended orientation, and picked up a slim stack of stationery and an ID before his lead evaporated last week.

If Smith were as superstitious as the Count, she would be knocking on the heartiest block of wood around.

Friday, December 1, 2006


The Count's got serious skills for predicting future events.

Republicans, via the all-knowing Associated Press, say they will seek a recount in the race. They plan to file papers by Wednesday, which is the deadline.

“There’s a lot on the line,” said Al Bowman, the GOP spokesman.

The vote-short Republican, Shannon Royer, wanted to proceed with a recount “because he felt that he owed it to the voters to make sure that every vote that should be counted, was counted,” Bowman added.

Reality Politics

Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith says she expects Republican Shannon Royer to challenge her 23-vote lead.

“If I was in the same position, I would be the first one calling for a recount,” she said in an interview today with Inquirer stud Benjamin Lowe.

But to paraphrase Philadelphia's McFadden & Whitehead, ain't no stopping her now. She is on the move. To Harrisburg. On Monday. For orientation.

Tuesday, she meets with House Minority Leader (for now) Bill "Love that Thesaurus" DeWeese to find out her committee assignments and district office budget.

There's Always More

We haven't said it in two days: This is so not over yet.

Chester County will give a preliminary certification today to the election results that put Democrat Barbara Smith ahead of Shannon Royer by 23 votes.

But this is politics, which means the end is not really the end.

Y'all might see the Democrats appeal the election board's decision yesterday to reject the inclusion of about a dozen provisional and absentee ballots in the count. Y'all should probably expect a Republican request for a recount before the Wednesday deadline.

While the lawyers prepare to do their lawyering, send along sightings of underground House Speaker John Perzel, or Democrats now willing to say that a recount is necessary to make sure "every vote is counted."

My Goodness

The Count has always thought highly of Capitol Ideas, the sassy blog of Morning Call Harrisburg reporter John L. Micek.

Yes, Mr. C.I., the Count admits it. The use of third person was inspired by you.

But no worries, the Count won't be offering gratuitous hockey links or iPod insights any time soon.

We might, however, try to come up with suggestions on who you best resemble (a glorious mix of wisacre John Stewart and skillful Cam Ward?), now that you're publicly weighing the Count's likeness.