The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 April 2005

Stolen Washington Governor's Race Heats Up

Voting Felons: 648

GOP's Challenge Gets Boost, Dems Have Strange Response

(Saturday Update)

Is King County now making the GOP's case for throwing out the disputed 2004 Washington state gubernatorial election? That's what party chairman Chris Vance correctly concludes.

Instead of merely blaming the race they stole on partisan Republicans, Democrats must now contend with King County's move to prosecute 648 felons who were illegally registered.

How do you spin your way out of that?

For starters, you can attempt to claim that not enough of them actually voted, that they didn't vote for Gregoire, or any number of excuses partisan hacks get paid to produce.

The wild card is determining what a Chelan County judge might be willing to accept as valid, legal arguments, versus what might go right out the window.

As the case takes twists and turns, it can be mighty confusing, but reports today in daily newspapers across the state of Washington cannot be good news for the Dems.

Orbusmax has all the latest headlines on this case, Sound Politics has in-depth coverage necessary for understanding this mess and we will keep you posted here as things develop.

Coverage from the Seattle Times and Post-Intelligencer has several other revelations today:

(Seattle Post-Intelligencer- Gregory Roberts- 29 April 2005)

Working from lists provided to them in the aftermath of the troubled 2004 election, King County prosecutors have identified 648 felons illegally registered to vote, officials said yesterday.

Illegal votes from felons play a central role in the Republican Party's legal attack on the election of Democrat Christine Gregoire as governor in November. Gregoire edged Republican Dino Rossi by 129 votes after a hand recount of more than 2.8 million ballots, and the GOP is suing to set aside that result in a trial starting May 23 in Wenatchee.

"The government is making our case for us," state Republican chairman Chris Vance said.

(Seattle Times- 29 April 2005- Keith Ervin)

Yesterday's announcement brings to 648 the number of challenges filed by King County prosecutors, based on lists of voters who appeared to be felons whose civil rights had not been restored. The lists were produced separately by the state Republican Party and The Seattle Times.

A hearing will be scheduled before elections director Dean Logan. Logan has already canceled the registrations of 191 felons and is preparing rulings on 345 others who have undergone hearings.

Illegal voting by felons in November is one of the irregularities cited by Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi in his lawsuit challenging Democrat Christine Gregoire's election victory. Gregoire beat Rossi by 129 votes in a manual recount, reversing Rossi's wins in two earlier machine counts.

In related matters:

• King County election workers have found another valid absentee ballot that wasn't counted in the November governor's election. It brings the number of uncounted ballots to 95.

The ballot was found during a "random review" of empty absentee-ballot envelopes, Logan reported in an April 22 memorandum to County Executive Ron Sims and County Council members.

• Pierce County reported that it found 14 uncounted absentee ballots during a recent search of records and had found 50 other ballots shortly after completion of the manual recount in December.

Update: Now, Democrats have launched a major counteroffensive, accusing Republicans of "cherry picking" voting felons from liberal areas and ignoring them in conservative areas. Republicans deny it, saying most of the convicts it found voting were in the Puget Sound area.

Next, Dems trip themselves up, by discounting the GOP's claim that it can't demonstrate, based on statistical analysis, that Western Washington felons would have mostly voted for Gregoire, yet Democrats have no problem insisting Eastern Washington criminals were certain to have picked Republican Rossi.

Democrats should have thought this through before launching their attack. Postman correctly devotes much of his story to this head-scratcher, but it's hard to imagine what the thinking was on the donkey side of the aisle.

This begs for a GOP ad campaign pointing out the two faces of the Democrat Party! Dem Chairman Berendt can't keep his position straight from one day to the next?

(Seattle Times- David Postman- 30 April 2005)

To press their case, Democrats are replicating Republican moves they've criticized and that they argue in court should be disallowed.

As evidence that a felon voted illegally, Democrats used county voter-crediting information that, when used by Republicans, they said was "inherently unreliable to prove that a ballot was given to an individual, marked by the individual, cast by the individual, and counted by election officials."

Democrats have also criticized Republicans for naming alleged felons without fully vetting the names, saying the exposure violates "common decency."

But yesterday Democrats filed court papers that included a list of 432 people they say "appear to be felons who voted" though the party's investigation is continuing.

And to show that their felons offset voting by Republicans' felons, Democrats will rely on a methodology that they say should be disallowed in the court case.

Republicans have proposed using a statistical analysis to apportion illegal votes by the same percentage as legal votes. For example, if Gregoire won 60 percent of the votes in a given precinct, Republicans say the court should assume that 60 percent of any illegal votes in that precinct were cast for her.

Two academic experts hired by Republicans say their calculations using that method show Rossi would win.

In court papers, Democrats call that "speculative attribution" and "based on chance." Berendt yesterday called it "guessing."


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