Update [2005-6-6 17:6:19 by susanhu]: Dino Rossi has finally conceded.
NPR/KUOW discussion is back on – 1:05PM-2PM. From judge’s live ruling: “Fraud cannot be claimed.” “One judge should not overturn.” “Would be the ultimate act of judicial activism.” (Boy, did the GOP get the wrong judge in John Bridges – ha! They chose an Eastern WA court thinking they’d get a rightwing judge. I looked up Bridges’ background a while ago. He’s eminently fair and a community leader.) (Failed candidate Dino Rossi will hold a news conf. at 5PM PDT.)
“Dismissed with prejudice” and “Ms. Gregoire confirmed as gov.” (Update: it appears the GOP won’t appeal the case to the state’s supreme court.)
More on Rossi’s concession from The Seattle Times:
“I don’t make this decision lightly, but I don’t make it … with bitterness or hard feelings. I continue to believe, as most Washingtonians believe, that mounting this election challenge and shining the light on the various problems in our election system was the right thing to do,” Rossi said.
He wished Gregoire good luck.
“It’s important to the state of Washington that she is successful in implementing her campaign promises,” he said in a brief appearance at his Bellevue campaign headquarters. He took no questions.
Below, dispatches from Seattle Times reporter + Seattle P.I. story:
NOTE: Seattle P.I. story is below the Times story.
By David Postman
Seattle Times chief political reporter
POSTED 9:59 AM Monday
Bridges: Overturning election would have meant “judicial egotism”
“An election such as this should not be overturned because one judge picks a number and applies a proportional deduction analysis,” Bridges said. “To do so within the context of the facts of this case would constitute the ultimate act of judicial egotism and judicial activism.”
POSTED 9:57 AM Monday
Bridges: No clear and convincing evidence
Judge Bridges said Republicans did not meet the burden of showing “clear and convincing” proof.
Bridges said there was evidence of irregularities, “as there appears to be in every election,” but “not substantial evidence, by clear and convincing evidence, that improper conduct or irregularities procured Ms. Gregoire’s election to the office of governor.”
POSTED 9:49 AM Monday
Bridges accepts 1,678 illegal votes — in part
“There is no evidence that ballots were changed, the ballot box stuffed or that lawful votes were removed from either candidate’s ballot box,” Bridges said.
Bridges said he determined that there were 1,678 illegal votes cast in the election, including 175 mishandled provisional ballots that election officials could not connect to properly registered voters.
But he said Republicans had provided no real proof that illegal votes benefited Gregoire.
“There is no evidence in this record that Ms. Gregoire received any illegal votes,” he said.
POSTED 9:37 AM Monday
Bridges knocks down fraud claim
Bridges is making it clear he does not agree with the Republican allegation of fraud in King County.
“The problems in King County are associated with and result from a lack of communication, lack of taking responsibility for action, a lower level of accountability and a difficulty documenting procedures,” Bridges said of the county’s well-documented problems.
There is no evidence that the problems in King County had anything to do with “intentional misconduct or someone’s desire to manipulate the election” or “partisan bias,” the phrase Republicans used to allege wrongdoing.
“There is no evidence before the court to question ballot security as to those ballots actually counted,” Bridges said, knocking down another Republican claim.
Bridges then said he would not accept Republicans’ statistical analysis to show how felons voted, saying their approach to so-called proportional deduction is not scientifically sound.
POSTED 9:31 AM Monday
Bridges addresses provisional ballots
Judge John Bridges addressed hundreds of mishandled provisional votes, saying: “No evidence exists as to which candidate may have received a vote from the provisional ballots not associated with a registered voter.”
Republicans had alleged those constituted illegal votes.
POSTED 9:28 AM Monday
Bridges discounts felon-voter evidence
Judge John Bridges said that depositions Democrats collected from five felons showed that four had voted for Republican Dino Rossi and one for Ruth Bennett, the Libertarian candidate. Those votes, Bridges said, should be subtracted from Rossi’s and Bennett’s totals.
Bridges said that for hundreds of other alleged felon voters, no evidence was presented to show whether the felons cast votes in the governor’s race, or which candidate they voted for.
He has not yet said whether he will use the Republicans’ proposed method of analyzing illegal votes, called proportional deduction, to estimate how felons voted.
POSTED 9:12 AM Monday
Judge Bridges critiques election process before ruling
“I want to note for you, lady and gentleman, nothing I say this morning should be interpreted as a criticism of either you or your clients,” Bridges said before announcing his decision.
And he laid out what he would not do.
“I have been asked in closing arguments to send a message. I’m going to decline that invitation. This court is not in a position to fix deficiencies in the election process that this court heard about over the past nine days.”
But Bridges said that can be done by voters. And he criticized the culture within King County’s elections office, which he said led to the problems with the election.
“It’s inertia, it’s selfishness, it’s taking our paycheck but not doing the work.”
POSTED 9:01 AM Monday
Judge to rule on election lawsuit today
Court is set to begin at 9 a.m. for Judge John Bridges to announce his decision in the governor’s election lawsuit. The auditorium that serves as Bridges’ temporary courtroom is nearly full, with party officials, media and court-watchers filling the seats.
Bridges said he will issue an oral decision from the bench.
Judge upholds Gregoire’s election
Monday, June 6, 2005
By GREGORY ROBERTS
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
WENATCHEE – Gov. Christine Gregoire’s narrow 2004 election victory was upheld this morning by a judge who said Republicans failed to show that voting problems in King County and elsewhere were the reason Gregoire won by 129 votes.
The decision by Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges surely will be appealed by the GOP to the state Supreme Court.
Bridges said there was evidence that 1,678 illegal votes were cast in the 2004 election, including 1,391 votes by felons. However Bridges said there was no evidence that Gregoire benefitted from the illegal votes.
Bridges said there was also no evidence of misconduct by election workers or that the probems with the election were the result of “partisan bias.”
The judge said the Republican lawsuit failed to meet the high standard necessary for the courts to intervene in an election.
“When the people have spoken, their verdict should not be disturbed by the courts,” Bridges said.
Before he issued his ruling, Bridges said he had been asked to send a message with his decision. However, he said “this court is not in the position to fix the deficiences in the election process.”
Rather, Bridges said it was up to voters to pressure lawmakers to take such steps. “It is the voters who should send the message.”
Defeated GOP candidate Dino Rossi sued in January to overturn Gregoire’s 129-vote victory in a hand recount of more than 2.8 million ballots cast.
The non-jury trial began two weeks ago in Chelan County Superior Court. The Republicans said the election should be thrown out because of
hundreds of errors by elections officials, and because fraud tainted the
The Republicans also said that if the illegal votes that they have
identified are deducted from the candidates’ totals under a
precinct-based statistical formula, Rossi wins.
Bridges said this morning that this “proportional deduction” method wasn’t scientifically sound because it tried to predict individual voters’ behavior based on the behavior of large groups of people within precincts.
The Democrats argued that the vote-counting errors were innocent
mistakes that can’t be used to overturn an election. They also said the
GOP’s formula for subtracting illegal votes is bogus, but that even if
Bridges applies it, Gregoire wins when invalid votes found by Democrats
are factored in.
Unlike Bridges, the Supreme Court would have the latitude to re-evalute the legal precedents. The Supreme Court will likely be urged to issue its ruling before beginning its summer recess at the end of the month.
P-I reporter Gregory Roberts can be reached at 206-448-8022 or email@example.com
© 1998-2005 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
– Background, previous stories, more
– New Sound off on the ruling
– Your predictions before the ruling
– Vote recap: Election night and two recounts