Rossi team issues list of "felon" voters
Attorneys for Republican Dino Rossi yesterday released the names of more than 1,000 people who allegedly cast illegal votes in November's...
Attorneys for Republican Dino Rossi yesterday released the names of more than 1,000 people who allegedly cast illegal votes in November's disputed gubernatorial election.
The list of alleged felons, people who voted twice and dead people recorded as voting is at the heart of a lawsuit Republicans filed to overturn the November election of Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire.
Rossi spokeswoman Mary Lane said the list — given to Democratic attorneys late yesterday in response to a subpoena and released to the media — is based on extensive research. While she said Rossi and his attorneys are confident in the "overall accuracy" of the list, she said, "it's not perfect. I'm sure there are going to be errors."
A check by The Seattle Times of 32 of the 1,135 names on the list found one case that appeared to be in error, and one that was unclear. The others appeared to be properly included on the list.
Searching for felon voters is complicated because of the cumbersome process of determining whether someone's voting rights have been restored and the difficulty in tracking a case to make sure felony charges were not later dropped or reduced. Records kept on computer by the courts and government agencies sometimes have gaps in them that make it difficult to say for sure what happened in a particular case.
Attorneys for the state Democratic Party said they hadn't had a chance to look at the material yesterday. But David McDonald, the party's chief counsel, said the names will be checked carefully before a trial in the case.
Republicans have been searching for felon voters since soon after the Nov. 2 election. Some of the work was done by the Building Industry Association of Washington, the home-builders group that is a strong backer of Rossi's.
Republicans were able to subpoena the Washington State Patrol's criminal database and the statewide voters list kept by the Secretary of State's Office. Names that showed up on both of those lists were then checked in court files.
Last week, Republicans gave the Democrats boxes of paperwork that included death certificates of people listed as voting as well as court records of the alleged felons who voted.
McDonald said research on the votes alleged to have been cast under the names of dead people showed many errors.
"I think we're going to find that most of this is business as usual. They've done a good job of press releases and superficial checking but not of doing their homework," McDonald said.
Harry Korrell, Rossi's chief attorney, said earlier he was "99.999 percent confident" that the list of felons was accurate.
Shortly after that, King County Executive Ron Sims said the county's administration of the election was "99.98 percent accurate."
"We'll see how Harry Korrell's 99.999 percent accuracy matches up to Ron Sims' 99.98," said Democratic attorney Jenny Durkan.
Rossi was initially declared the winner of the November election, the closest governor's race in state history. He won the initial count by 261 votes and a machine recount by 42 votes. But after a hand recount, Gregoire was declared the winner by 129 votes.
Rossi and other Republicans filed a lawsuit in January in Chelan County Superior Court alleging that the election was flawed because of felon voters and mishandling of ballots by election officials.
The next major step in that legal challenge will be Judge John Bridges' decision on what level of evidence Republicans will need to show in proving there were enough illegal votes that the election should be nullified.
Republicans have argued that it is enough to show that enough illegal votes were cast that the true outcome of the election is unknown.
Bridges has said Republicans must show the illegal votes "appear" to have changed the outcome, but hasn't yet ruled on the level of specificity that will be required during the trial.
Democrats say Republicans must show which candidate got each of the illegal votes.
That issue will be decided in the coming weeks, setting the stage for a trial. No date has been set.
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