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March 17, 2005
WA Governor's Race: From Chairman Vance
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

This memo from GOP Chair Chris Vance today:

As you know, Washington state gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi filed an election contest in January.  This memo will update you on what has happened in the past two months, and what we expect to happen in the coming weeks.

We believe that we are likely to win our case in Chelan County Superior Court.  The current governor of Washington, Christine Gregoire, was certified as the winner in the third count of nearly three million ballots by just 129 votes (Dino Rossi won the first regular count and the first machine recount).  We have compiled evidence of close to 2,000 illegal and improperly cast and counted votes – far more than the margin between the two candidates.

We believe the evidence is more than sufficient to nullify the governor’s election and require a new one.  A Superior Court trial date has not been set, but once we complete the discovery process, including depositions of county elections officials, we can move forward with a trial date, possibly as soon as the end of April. 

So far we have found more than 1,100 people we believe to be felons who voted illegally in November 2004.  Most of these illegal felon votes were cast in King County, the largest county in the state, which includes Seattle.  The King County Prosecutor’s office has begun to investigate these votes.  Some of the people originally on our felon list  may be juvenile offenders who might have to be be removed, but we are still doing felon research and adding more names to the list.  In the end, we will have evidence that the number of illegal votes is many times the final 129-vote margin between the candidates.

Additionally, in King County hundreds of “provisional” ballots were improperly fed directly into voting machines on Election Day.  The director of the King County elections department this week acknowledged that hundreds more provisionals than originally thought were illegally counted.   In Washington state, anyone can walk into any polling place and request a provisional ballot, even if they do not appear on the voter rolls, and no ID is required.  Provisional ballots are supposed to be placed in secure envelopes and verified later for legality before they can be counted.  In the case of hundreds of these ballots, they were placed directly into the voting machines and counted, and they cannot be retrieved.

We have also unearthed dozens of instances of double-voting and votes cast on behalf of deceased persons.  And finally, in King County there is a significant discrepancy between the number of votes counted and the number of people who actually voted.

The trial judge has yet to rule on the standard of proof necessary to prevail in this contest.  There are three possible standards: (1) If there is evidence of more than 129 illegal or improperly cast votes, the election is nullified; (2) The illegal votes will be be subjected to “proportional analysis,” whereby the votes are allocated to the candidates based on the percentage each candidate received in a particular precinct or county.  If it appears the illegal votes gave Gregoire the election, the election must be nullified; or (3) Each illegal voter must be asked how he or she voted, and the illegal votes would be allocated accordingly.

The Washington state Supreme Court has already approved the use of Option #1 in an earlier case involving a county election, and under either Option #1 or #2 we believe we will prevail.  The Democrats support Option #3 and say we must prove for whom each illegal vote was cast, presumably by requiring felons, double-voters, and those who cast votes on behalf of dead people to testify about how they cast those illegal votes.  The court has twice rejected the Democrats’ argument on this issue, and we are confident the Court will apply either Option #1 or #2.

Once the Superior Court trial is done, the case will likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court.  We are confident that given the evidence of huge numbers of illegal votes, the election will be set aside and a new one held this year.

It ain't over folks.

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