The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

13 November 2004

Florida 2000, Meet Washington State 2004!

As Americans put the election news behind them, however they feel about the results, to focus on holidays, trial verdicts, or weather, in Washington State it's a political Groundhog Day: always Tuesday.

It's the election that never ends, much to the relief of lawyers stunned that Kerry would concede the race without 500 lawsuits, from Ohio to New Mexico to Iowa.

Yes, the barristers have simply migrated to Seattle, where those working for the Democrats duke it out with their GOP counterparts over every vote to be counted in Washington State's unbelievably close gubernatorial race between Democrat Christine Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi.

Washington State hasn't elected a Republican in 20 years and Democrats are fighting hard to make sure it doesn't change this year. On Friday they won a King County court ruling, allowing them to contact people whose absentee votes were tossed out because signatures didn't match those on file.

The biggest battle is over large numbers of provisional ballots in King County and elsewhere. Both sides figure these iffy votes, if counted, will lean heavily toward the Democrats.

Already state Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt is whining about supposedly intimidating behavior by Republican vote count watchers. GOP party officials supervising the counting merely say they are there to make sure everything is done legally and fairly and that Democrats don't want them there at all.

So far Republican Rossi is holding a slight lead, about 2000 votes, as ballots continue to be counted. But R's rightly fear that illegitimate votes will be forced into the total by the courts and their great hope of retaking Olympia will be lost.

GOP supporters can be forgiven if they are feeling a little bit queasy at the moment. This has ended badly for them in the past.


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