The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 December 2004

Washington State GOP Builds its Case

Chris Vance and the WA GOP will now face a true test of their resolve to keep the Democrats from successfully stealing the Washington State governorship. They are seeking data from King County to help them compile evidence:

Dan Brady


(Seattle P-I) Dan Brady, the lead ballot counting observer in King County for the state Republican Party, uses an enlarged sample of a ballot at a news conference to explain what he says are discrepancies in vote counting in the governor's race.

(Seattle P-I) Rossi won the first count and the mandatory mechanical recount by 261 votes and 42 votes, respectively.

Secretary of State Sam Reed is scheduled to certify Gregoire the winner Thursday. Republicans may challenge the results, but yesterday they didn't specifically say what they might do.

State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said under normal circumstances, the parties have a responsibility to be "good stewards to the process."

That means the loser should accept the result and move on, "no matter how small the margin."

But these were not normal circumstances, said Vance, adding the election raised several questions about the fairness and accuracy of the election process.

"At that point, I think you have an affirmative duty to raise those questions because if we don't, no one else will," Vance said. "It is up to the combatants, the participants in this process, to hold the system accountable."

He said the biggest problem in King County was insufficient and inconsistent instruction for election workers charged with enhancing ballots to determine voter intent.

Contrary to state law, a significant but unknown number of ballots were permanently and irrevocably altered, Vance said.

"You might have had your mark permanently filled in with a black pen," Vance said. "You might have had nothing done to it. You might have had it whited out."

He said although the inconsistency was the rule it consistently benefited Gregoire, who picked up 179 votes in King County during the hand recount.

This will be a PR strategy as much as a legal one. The party has to be noisy to keep the Seattle media from convincing the public that Gregoire has actually won the election. If they back down at all, the partisan Seattle news outlets will go out of their way to shoot down Rossi. Not that they haven't started already.


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