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June 6, 2005
Washington Court Upholds Democratic Victory Despite Irregularities

A judge has denied a challenge to the election of Christine Gregoire as Governor in Washington despite finding irregularities of more than ten times the eventual margin of victory. John Bridges ruled that since no one could show with certainty how those voters voted, the election must stand as last counted:

Gov. Christine Gregoire's narrow 2004 election victory was upheld this morning by a judge who said Republicans failed to show that voting problems in King County and elsewhere were the reason Gregoire won by 129 votes. ...

Bridges said there was evidence that 1,678 illegal votes were cast in the 2004 election, including 1,391 votes by felons. However Bridges said there was no evidence that Gregoire benefitted from the illegal votes.

Bridges said there was also no evidence of misconduct by election workers or that the probems with the election were the result of "partisan bias."

The judge said the Republican lawsuit failed to meet the high standard necessary for the courts to intervene in an election.

The GOP is widely expected to appeal the decision.

Quite frankly, I don't see how the judge could have ruled otherwise on the basis of the irregularities mentioned in the article. We know felons voted in the election, but we have no way to tell how they voted. I would have preferred to see the election challenged on the nature of the recount that wound up working for Gregoire, as a hand count should be considered less accurate than a machine count. Perhaps the state Supreme Court will address that issue, although I rather doubt it.

The state legislature should have demanded a revote, if for no other reason than the election the state held had obvious defects, especially in King County. That would have pre-empted the need for a lawsuit and allowed for a positive solution and a chance to fix the problems with illegal voters. The failure of the state legislature to act in protection of the credibility of its electoral system should be a historical black mark on this group of legislators.

See Michelle Malkin for more details, and lots of links. Also Power Line points out, "if that's the standard, election challenges are futile, since I can't see how there would ever be a record of which candidate a particular voter (real or nonexistent) voted for."

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 6, 2005 2:30 PM

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