Skip to comments.WA Gov. Race: Try, Try Again
Posted on 01/28/2005 1:20:18 PM PST by Publius
We have generally decried the recent trend toward attempts to settle elections after the fact in the courts. But the voting controversy in Washington State is a special case. As Byron York reports elsewhere in [the Feb. 14 issue of NR], it is impossible to know who truly won the Washington gubernatorial race between Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Christine Gregoire. Gregoire has just taken office, having overtaken Rossi in a second recount. Her winning margin: 129 votes out of 2.8 million votes cast. Rossi had won the initial post-election-day count by 261 votes, and the first machine recount by 42 votes. Throughout the process, Gregoire has been helped by the ability of heavily Democratic King County (home to Seattle) to produce new batches of uncounted votes, including 573 supposedly mistakenly disqualified ballots that gave Gregoire her winning margin.
Rossi has filed a contest of the election in state court, as allowed by the state constitution. (He chose not to pursue action in federal court using the fanciful equal-protection arguments that are the unfortunate spawn of Bush v. Gore.) The exact standard he will have to meet will be decided by the judge, but at the very least he will have to prove that the number of ballots accounted for by fraud, error, or illegal votes exceeds Gregoire's margin of victory. At 129, and with plenty of questionable ballots in King County alone, he should meet any reasonable test on this score. Then, the judge will have a number of remedies, including a statewide re-vote. That is the option favored by Rossi, who argues that the vote-counting process has been so chaotic and mishandled that no one can assume the governorship except under a debilitating cloud of doubt.
He is right. The painstaking precinct-by-precinct analysis of blogger Stefan Sharkansky at soundpolitics.com shows that in King County alone, there are 3,700 unaccounted-for ballots or voters. Some precincts have more ballots than voters, for a total of 2,900 "extra" ballots. Other precincts have more voters than ballots, for a total of 800 "extra" voters. These mystery voter-less ballots and ballot-less votes obviously are enough in themselves to put Gregoire's 129-vote margin in serious doubt.
Other irregularities abound. The Seattle Times has reported that 129 felons voted in King and Pierce counties. At least 348 provisional ballots which are supposed to be closely inspected to see if they are legitimate were directly fed into machines and counted in King County. Some 55,000 optical-scan ballots (ballots on which the voter marks a bubble) in King County were "enhanced" so that the voters' supposed intent could be determined, with no uniform standard governing the process. Roughly 500 voters used the address of the King County Administration building as their home address.
This all makes for an irrecoverable mess that Kirby Wilbur and other Washington state talk-radio hosts, the Wall Street Journal's John Fund, and above all Sharkansky have helped expose. Even Dean Logan, the Democratic director of elections in King County, when asked if we will ever know who got more votes, has said, "Statewide, you know I think that perhaps we'll never know the answer to that because of it being as close as it is."
There are reasonable grounds for considering a re-vote unwise. York advances a few of them in his article. What precedent would it set? But elections this razor-close are extremely rare, and re-votes have happened before. As Fund points out, North Carolina is about to have a statewide re-vote in an agriculture-commissioner race. The trend toward litigated election results is already well underway and there seems little chance of stopping it. It may be that Rossi will hurt his political future by seeming to be a sore loser in this race. But that judgment is for him to make. If he believes the principle of upholding the integrity of Washington's election process is more important than the political risk he runs, so be it.
There is, as many have noted, something to be said for finality in an election. We agree. But the only way to get it in this case is to tighten up procedures, and vote again.
Please ping the chapter.
Given that the demoncRATS have already called for tax increases to make up for the $1.6 billion shortfall rather than cut expenses, want a state income tax and have requested another raise, we need a REVOTE.
They'll never let go of power now.
Does Washington state have a mechanism for recall as was done in California?
Not to mentioned this. This one really burns me up!
That illegal attempt to call a revote by the Democrats on the State Elections Board was rejected by the courts, so it looks like we won't be having a re-vote. Republican Steve Troxler won the race by over 2,000 votes but the crooks on the Board of Elections won't certify him the winner, and in the meantime the incumbent Democrat is still holding office!!!
Great article and glad we're getting the attention.
The law in Washington is different. Here you can only recall an officeholder for malfeasance in office.
Sky, I'm pleased to see NR has taken this on. Our two liberal rags, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Seattle Times are even investigating the irregularities and reporting facts. This is a huge gauge of the pendulum swing out here.
In case "bubble" doesn't connote effectively, it's an outline of a sort of oval shape that needs to be filled in.
Sentiment on the local level here does not seem to indicate that Rossi will hurt his political future by challenging a corrupt election result.
can I have the one on the left :o)
AND MAKE ME SETTLE FOR THE ONE ON THE RIGHT?!?!?
I can live with that ;)
So what else is left but an all out revolution. Anything less is a total sellout.
Thanks for the ping
JESSE, JESSE WHERE ARE YOU?
Well, the legislative Democrats are starting to come out and say the incumbent rat, Cobb, should give up, and the newspapers are saying the same. So it's up to the courts and public opinion to force the issue, probably in the next two weeks.
She's a Democrat, what does he expect?
First encouraging article on this I have read in weeks.
Perhaps God will bring justice to this tragedy after all.
P.S. If I were a betting man, I would wager from this article that National Review has already talked to people who know this judge well, and they are almost certain he is not going to throw away his entire legal reputation on 129 phony votes.
Byron York is a gem. I remember him shining the spotlight on the senatorial election in S.Dakota in '02, in which Johnson beat Thune under questionable circumstances.
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