December 15, 2004

WA Governor Race Still Undecided

Almost six weeks after the election there is still one race that has not been officially decided: namely, the race for Governor of Washington state. Just over a week ago the count showed the Republican candidate, Dino Rossi, was 42 votes ahead of the Democrat, Christine Gregoire, after the machine recount and the Republicans promptly declared victory. But then Democrats raised enough money to pay for a hand recount.

As the Democrats began the handcount, they noticed something funny about the mail-in ballots, namely that 561 ballots that had been set aside as not legal were actually legal. These ballots had been set aside because their signature was not on file yet they were actually legal because a valid signature was on a voter's registration card that had been turned in, but not yet recorded. How were these votes found? It turned out that a King County Councilman, Larry Philips, found his vote hat been missed in this set of votes. Later another 22 ballots were located in the pockets of voting machines that had been packed away, although the Republicans are contesting these newly found votes.

And on Tuesday, the Washington Supreme Court rejected the Democratic suit requesting that all rejected write-in ballots be reexamined, so the pool of eligible ballots is now closed.

Commentators are noting that the reason the race is still open is because the Democratic party is showing some spine. Democrats in Washington have learned from the Republicans and are refusing to fold this time. No way the Republicans can intimidate the Democrats who are following legal procedures to make sure the election is fair. Even the threat of rioting Republicans has not made the Democrats back down like they did in Florida in 2000.

Having previously questioned the integrity of King County election officials, [State Republican Chairman Chris] Vance raised the specter that the state's largest county is trying to "steal" the election for Gregoire, and raised the prospect of mass protests in the streets.

Envision, if you can, a Republican mob marching through downtown Seattle.

Who will finally win in this case is not known. What is clear is the Republican victory is no longer assured because the additional 561 ballots in King Count could move the election to the Democratic candidate. And Washington shows that there is clearly time to get the count right by counting every vote, more than once if necessary.

Posted by Mary at December 15, 2004 01:45 AM | WA Politics | Technorati links |

Republicans rioting in the streets?

I can see it now: 1000 people 'storming' Westlake Center, chanting and waving signs. Vance and the rest of his goons standing in front with bullhorns calling for the head of the Secretary of State on a silver platter (which everyone present offered to supply)

The riot/demonstration gets a full head of steam: rhetoric in high gear, the faithful starry-eyed and vacant, some folks praying for Divine intervention.

That is until some smartass yells out above the din:
"Shoe Sale at Nordstrom's!"
And half the crowd bolts for the double doors at 5th and Pine.

Film at Eleven.

Posted by: David Aquarius at December 15, 2004 02:52 AM

Republicans only organize for NASCAR, Rodeos, all-you-can-eat buffets, religious mass, anti-choice, hate feasts, and book burnings. So unless the specter of Dale Earnhart wearing a cowboy hat serving cornbread and a side-helping of fanatical religion preaching intolerance and government control over a woman's body with clans men burning hardcopies of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Color Purple, and the French flag happen to occur at Westlake center:
I don't think there will be a sizable turn-out.

But I hope there is because it would be hilarious to watch it.

Posted by: TABS at December 15, 2004 10:37 AM

There will have to be a lot of votes found in King County for Gregoire to pull out a win. A review of the Washington Secretary of State's webpage (which is excellent, by the way), shows that Rossi has picked up more votes than Gregoire, even in counties where Gregoire won.

Some of the people on the ground in Washington have expressed confidence or at least optimism for a Gregoire win, but it isn't looking real good right now.

Posted by: James E. Powell at December 15, 2004 01:26 PM

Gregoire can still pull this out. We've got results for most of the small counties completed, and most of these went big for Rossi. And most of Rossi's gains were below estimates of what he would gain.

I wouldn't bet the farm on a Gregoire win, but her chances are actually better than you might think, especially with the 5?? votes to be counted in King County.

And as for demonstrations...heck, the Repugs don't have the cajones to demonstrate in downtown Bellevue, let alone downtown Seattle. Maybe they'll consider Front Street in Issaquah, but that will end quick when one of their fellow travellers in an SUV runs over a few of them to hurry on home to their home in Sammamish or to the Nordies in Bellevue Square. ;-)

Posted by: palamedes at December 15, 2004 03:02 PM

You may (or may not) be aware that I've been writing an extended series of reports and analyses on the WA Gov vote counts as they progress. Most of my work has been in the form of DailyKos diaries. Look here for the most recent one. That report includes links that will get you to previous diaries, all the way back to the first few days after Election Day.

Posted by: N in Seattle at December 15, 2004 10:19 PM

N, thanks for your excellent reports. I certainly think this is a very interesting story. Living in California, I don't really get the full impact of the story. That is why you and natasha add so much value to this story. And thanks, to Jenny of for asking why Pacific Views wasn't reporting on this important story - it made me go look into the details. And boy, am I glad that natasha is through with her finals - I think she'll add a lot to the coverage.

Posted by: Mary at December 15, 2004 11:53 PM

I wouldn't count out Rossi... One can hope he will make it, but the demorats finding additional ballots in an unsecured warehouse (not the 570 ones, but the 22-ish number) does not bode well

Posted by: Jeffrey at December 16, 2004 06:09 AM

I don't think those 22 ballots will ever see the light of day. Though it would be possible to go to the individual voters and get them to swear that they submitted them correctly, I'm not sure I'd want to test that proposition in court.

OTOH, word is that Republi-slime chair Chris Vance wants to sue to block the 500-whatever ballots that King County mistakenly invalidated ... this after his lawyer had pretty much admitted that King County was doing the right thing with its careful methods. Oh, did I mention that the lawyer said that in oral arguments before the state Supreme Court?

And he's supposedly filing in Pierce County, which wouldn't have jurisdiction over King County governmental affairs.

Posted by: N in Seattle at December 16, 2004 05:45 PM