- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 4, 2005

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — Both sides delivered closing arguments yesterday in Washington state’s disputed governor’s race, with Republican lawyers insisting the results must be thrown out to restore public faith in the system and Democrats asking a judge to uphold Gov. Christine Gregoire’s 129-vote victory.

On Monday, Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges will decide who’s right — and who is rightfully governor of Washington state.

During the trial, Republicans argued election errors, illegal votes and fraud stole the election from Republican candidate Dino Rossi. Democrats countered the errors were innocent mistakes and said Republicans lacked enough evidence to justify tossing a governor out of office.

Mr. Rossi filed his election challenge after winning the first count and a machine recount, only to lose the final, hand recount by the smallest percentage margin of any U.S. governor’s election.

Harry Korrell, legal counsel for the Republicans, blamed a “staggering number of errors and illegal and invalid votes, primarily but not exclusively in King County,” a Democratic stronghold and home to Seattle, with about one-third of the total statewide votes.

The election problems as alleged by the Republicans included: hundreds of felons who voted illegally; hundreds more ballots counted than could be matched to registered voters; hundreds of unverified provisional ballots that were improperly fed directly into vote-tabulating machines; dozens of apparently valid ballots that were misplaced and not counted; and a handful of votes cast in the names of dead people.

Attorneys for the state Democratic Party said those kinds of mistakes happen in every county, in every election. They said just because an election is not perfect does not justify nullifying it.

“It’s not enough to show a mistake. It’s not enough to show a bad mistake, and it’s not enough to show a really bad mistake,” Democrat lawyer Jenny Durkan said in her closing argument.

Both sides have said they plan to appeal to the state Supreme Court if they lose.

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