Monday, May 23, 2005

Republicans go to court to overturn Gregoire’s victory in Washington

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire was sworn into office on January 12th after being declared the winner in Washington’s hotly contested gubernatorial election. Yet, Republicans continue to seek to reverse the election’s outcome. They go to court today.

In the latest development, Republicans are alleging that fraud played a role in Gregoire’s victory. The GOP is relying on depositions in which King County election workers said they submitted false absentee ballot reports, with the knowledge of their supervisors, before the election was certified. The allegation of fraud makes it easier for the court system to rule in favor of the Republicans and overturn the election.

Other issues still being contended are reports that felons voted illegally and human error in vote counting similar to allegations raised in the 2004 Ohio and 2000 Florida presidential votes.

This race was one of the closest in history and clearly shows just how divided the State of Washington is. In a similar situation in 2001, Vice President Al Gore decided that rather than continuing to contest a very close election he would step aside for the good of the country. It was indeed a noble gesture. Unfortunately Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate for governor in Washington, failed to learn from Mr. Gore’s example.

It’s time for healing and coming together. Rossi needs to step aside and look towards a rematch in 2008.


At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ms. Gregoire should have stepped aside after the first recount. She had two recounts. Rossi should get at least one.
Sen. Gore had no chance of winning. Republicans controlled the Florida Congress, Florida Governorship and the US Congress. All legal avenues of overturning the election would have gone to Pres. Bush. The US Supreme Court and the Florida Supreme Court should have stayed out of it and let the Constitutional procedures play out, which would have still resulted in a Bush victory.
The Washington Constitution is not so clear and so the Washington Courts need to step in. My reading of the statutes are that if there is a reasonable doubt as to the results, the election should be thrown out. There is obviously significant reasonable doubt in this case, due to fraud, mistakes and illegal voters.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Joe Weedon said...

Ms. Gregoire's recounts occured before the results of the election were certified by the state elections commission and before either candidate was sworn into office.

I just added a second post with more of the arguments against a re-vote.

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sen. Gore"? At the time of the 2000 election, Al Gore was finishing his second term as Vice President of the United States. It's incorrect protocol to refer to him as "Senator", just as it would be incorrect protocol to refer to Dick Cheney as "Congressman".

Additionally, the idea that Gore "had no chance of winning" is wrong. The offical election results gave Bush a 537 vote victory. However, when Supreme Court ordered the recount halted, there were still 171,010 ballots which had never been counted, on election night or at any time until the media counted them in 2001 as a piece of historical research.

Most of the uncounted ballots contained so called "overvotes", where a voter appeared to vote for more than one Presidential candidate. Florida law stated at the time that such votes were invalid unless the intent of the voter was clear - - i.e. if the voter marked "Bush" and wrote "Bush" on the write-in space.

A media constortium hired the National Opinion Research Center to examine these uncounted ballots in 2001. The NORC came to the conclusion that no matter what the standard of judging the ballots was applied, Gore won the 2000 Florida election. The smallest possible margin of victory for Gore, using the most narrow standards, gave him a 107 vote lead. The largest margin was found by the Washington Post, which did an analysis of overvotes in 8 counties, and concluded that if they had been counted per Florida law, Gore's margin of victory would have been 28,510.

Additionally, if your criteria for whether an election should be overturned is whether there was fraudulent voting, you should also be insisting that the 2000 Florida election should be overturned. In addition to voting machine problems and legal manuevering, there were a large number of criminally altered ballots in the election. To site only two examples: there were 5000 defective absentee ballots illegally altered by Republican party operatives in in Seminole and Martin counties which were retained in the final count; and there were 680 illegal oversees military ballots that were counted because of massive pressure from the Bush campaign.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

I would imagine, if any state's votes are examined as closely as Florida in 2000 or Washington in 2004, we'd find fraud. Both cases exemplify the need for voting reform not just from the states but from the Federal government as well.

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The details regarding mistakes in Florida are irrelevant. The count was certified by the Florida Secretary of State. The Florida Congress is in charge of the voting for US President. The Governor sends the official tabulation to the US Congress. If perchance, some other group (ie Democrats) send another count, the US Congress gets to pick which one it accepts, if any. Choosing the official count from the Governor elects Bush. Choosing not to accept either count elects Bush due to neither having enough votes and the Congress (actually I think it is the Senate) choosing the President.

I agree that there will always be mistakes. But, contesting the election is perfectly legal, just as is asking for multiple recounts. It is just too bad that Washington didn't have clearer rules on voting. Perhaps the legislature will correct that. I think if the roles were reversed, the Democrats would be doing the exactly same thing.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

"I think if the roles were reversed, the Democrats would be doing the exactly same thing."

You know they would be. Which is the problem. We really need reforms that can better keep our elections out of courts.


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