The PoliBlog

The Collective
Saturday, January 8, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Rossi to Contest Wash. Governor Election

More than two months after Washington voters cast their ballots, Republican Dino Rossi is hoping the courts will give them another chance to pick their next governor.

Rossi and the state GOP announced Friday they will contest the gubernatorial election that gave Rossi’s Democratic foe, Christine Gregoire, a 129-vote victory.

Republicans have been building a case over the past few weeks, gathering evidence of voting irregularities, including illegal provisional ballots and a handful of votes cast by dead people. They are pushing for a revote, an unprecedented step in a statewide election.

“There are so many improperly cast and counted ballots that this election is invalid,” said Rossi, a real-estate millionaire and former state senator. “You cannot tell who won. The only way for us to get out of this problem is for us to have a revote.”

While I will be curious to see the evidence, I remain unconvinced that this is the right move. I am not in favor of the litigation of elections unless there is truly remarkable evidence of fraud.

Further, I maintain that from Rossi’s point of view, that politically he would be better off being gracious and coing back to fight another day. I predict that if he is able to force a re-vote, he will lose.

The problem here reamain that it is, for all practiacl purposes, a tie and Gregoire won using the established rules. Are there some irregularities? Yes, of course. Does that mean that in a race this close that those irregularities may have caused Gregoire to win–maybe. Is there any way of knowing for certain–no (and that’s the crux of the matter).

Perhaps there ought to be a law in all states that if the votes is within a miniscule percentage that a revote of the top two candidates is automatic. That is the only way I can think of to solve this kind of problem.

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Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | |


  1. If I remember correctly, I thought that Gregoire filed the first lawsuits in order to count some more ballots. If that is the case, I think it is unfair to fault Rossi.

    Regardless, the established rules have already been broken it seems on both sides. And who is to say that a recount is any more accurate than the first count. That is what I don’t like about these recount laws. If they are simply running the ballots through the machines again, shouldn’t a recount have the same margin of error, if not a higher one, than the first count?

    Comment by Brett — Saturday, January 8, 2005 @ 4:01 pm

  2. “I predict that if he is able to force a re-vote, he will lose.”

    You obviously aren’t from Washington and you haven’t been following this at all.

    Even the extremely liberal Seattle Times has written that there is a majority that believes that Rossi won the election.

    The people want a re-vote and if we were to get one - Rossi would win easily.

    We won’t get one, though, because the State Supreme Court judges are ALL Democrats.

    Rossi is asking for a re-vote because he knows that the State Supreme Court will overturn it (if approved by the lower court in Chelan) and this will be another nail in the coffin of the Washington Democratic Machine.

    There is much more going on here than you outsiders can see.

    Comment by Von from Bellingham — Sunday, January 9, 2005 @ 1:49 pm

  3. Brett,

    Yesm, Gregoire did file the first suit, and yes, I would have preferred if that had not happened. And margin of error deals with a range of error, not the absolute error, so the aexact same recount can come up with different results–hence the problem with a vote this close.


    Clearly, those on the outside know less detauils than those on the inside. However, part of what is needed here ia a dispassionate view of the situation. Further, as a general rule I am opposed to the litigation of elections except when there is extremey compelling evidence.

    And in re: the view of the voters in Washington–the bottom line is that the state is overwhelmingly Democratic. Further, a new election will have a different turn-out. I would readily bet tht the result of a re-vote would lead to a Gregoire victory.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Sunday, January 9, 2005 @ 2:20 pm

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