|Your account||Today's news index||Weather||Traffic||Movies||Restaurants||Today's events|
Friday, December 03, 2004 - Page updated at 07:36 P.M.
Democrats will finance a statewide hand recount
The party also filed suit in the state Supreme Court, seeking a ruling that would allow reconsidering ballots that had been rejected earlier. Republicans charge the move threatens to tie up the election in court, calling the lawsuit "a nuclear bomb." Democrats yesterday said they've raised $800,000 so far for the recount, which they expect to cost more than $1 million.
Republican Dino Rossi, a real-estate agent and former state senator, won the first count of the Nov. 2 election by 261 votes. A mandatory statewide machine recount tightened his lead to 42 votes. Rossi declared victory Tuesday after being certified as governor-elect.
However, Gregoire, a three-term state attorney general, has maintained the race was too close for her to concede. Her campaign and the Democratic party said a second recount, this one by hand, was needed to determine the winner.
State law allows for candidates and the political parties to ask for a second recount, but they have to pick up the tab. If the recount overturns the election, they get their money back.
Secretary of State Sam Reed is expected to issue a recount order on Monday. The actual counting has to start by Thursday, and election officials hope to have the last ballots counted by Dec. 23.
Rossi's campaign accused the Democrats of trying to steal the election. "As far as we're concerned, it's trying to overturn the legitimate result of this election by any means necessary, ethical or not," Rossi spokeswoman Mary Lane said. "Christine Gregoire cares more about her own political ambition than what the voters actually think."
They sharply attacked the lawsuit filed by Democrats.
Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance called the lawsuit "a nuclear bomb. It will blow up our election system in Washington state."
The suit asks for emergency relief and requests the Supreme Court commissioner to hear the case by early next week.
"Prior errors and inconsistencies in the initial canvassing and machine recount of ballots must be reviewed and corrected," the suit says.
The suit was filed on behalf of four voters who say their votes were not counted because of a variety of problems.
King County voter Ronald Taro Suyematsu claims in the filing that he never received his absentee ballot. On election day, he went to his polling place instead to vote with a provisional ballot. But his name did not show on a registration list and his vote was never counted.
Democrats claim that ballots were inappropriately challenged, that county canvassing board rejected qualified ballots and voters were denied meaningful notice of challenges. The lawsuit also says counties used varying standards "regarding signature-matching for absentee and provisional ballots."
The suit does not appear to allege purposeful manipulation by county officials.
"In some respects, the problems might not be more frequent than in a typical election, but the narrow margin between the candidates means that, unlike the typical election, they are not harmless," the suit alleges.
The suit specifically names Reed and the election departments in King, Franklin, Pend Oreille and Pierce counties.
Democrats have largely outlined their legal strategy in a letter sent to Reed Wednesday.
Staff reporter Susan Gilmore contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company
Home delivery | Contact us | Search archive | Site map | Low-graphic
NWclassifieds | NWsource | Advertising info | The Seattle Times Company
Back to top