Washington’s Stolen Governor’s Race

It’s Gregoire by 130; is it over? Rossi says this wasn’t a clean election (Seattle Times)

It took three counts of nearly 3 million ballots, four lawsuits, seven weeks and discovery of a series of embarrassing mistakes in King County, but Democrat Christine Gregoire yesterday won the race for governor by 130 votes over Republican Dino Rossi. The hand recount — the final count allowed by law — ended yesterday when King County tallied 566 disputed ballots. As Republicans feared, the final votes went heavily for Gregoire and added to the 10-vote lead she had held when the day began. Like so much in this race where the unprecedented becomes precedent — already it’s the closest governor’s race in state history, Washington’s first statewide hand recount and the first time any recount reversed a statewide election — the fight will continue right through any victory parties Gregoire has planned. More lawsuits are possible, as is a full-scale legal attack by Republicans that could lead to a new election.

Gregoire said at a news conference in the Capitol last night she would not declare victory until the election is certified next week. “A lot of heated words have been said during this recount,” Gregoire said. “But with the election coming to a close, I am confident that we can begin to move forward as one state.” Gregoire did not call on Rossi to concede, but said she would have conceded if she were the one who had lost the manual recount. When she was 261 votes behind Rossi after the first count, Gregoire called the race a virtual tie. At 42 votes back after the first recount, she said it was, in fact, a tie. Now, she said, “It’s time for this race and this election to be over.”

As they paid for the hand recount and filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court, Democrats have been highly critical of the counting process, saying local officials chose “expediency over accuracy and equality” and calling Rossi the “accidental governor-elect” and a “thief” trying to steal the election.

It’s amazing that, when they lost after the first and second count, the Democrats were anything but magnanimous. Now that the election has been stolen for them by corrupt election officials and partisan judges, they want the Republicans to be gracious about it. Simply amazing. It looks as though they’ll get away with it. The only recourse Rossi has is the state legislature, which is heavily Democrat. I can’t imagine the U.S. Supreme Court stepping in here.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. ken says:

    James, with this tirade of yours it is clear to me that you do not understand the fundemental facts of American democracy. No one can ‘steal’ an election when all the votes are counted and honestly reported. Whoever has the most votes WINS the election. Winnning is not stealing.

    It does not matter how long it takes nor how many times ballots need to be counted. What matters is that all the ballots be counted. As a voter I expect nothing less from all election officials. You should as well.

    This is victory for democracy. It is victory of each and every person who goes to the polls (or in this case, sends in a ballot) expecting that their vote counts for something. Shame on you and anyone else who would deny some voters the right to have their ballot count.

    A corrupt election official would be one who refuses to count ballots and a partisan judge would do exactly the same. It is sad that you would think otherwise.

  2. carpeicthus says:

    Methinks the doctor doth protest too much. If the Republicans think that the result doesn’t reflect the votes actually cast, they should fight it. That is not stealing.

  3. John Lemon, Now with Extra Sour says:

    Shut up dumb ass Ken. You know not of what you speak. Shenanigans abound and almost all were in King County. Certain types of votes (i.e., without correct or registered signatures) that were counted in King County were not counted in other parts of the state.

    Add to this the military absentee ballots that were not mailed out until TWO DAYS BEFORE the election. There are thousands of military folk in Iraq and Afghanistan now that were denied a right to vote through “no fault of their own” (which was the standard used to count an additional 750 ballots in King County that were not in the first two counts).

    King County is the only county that relied on “enhanced” ballots where election workers completed the ballots using a pen or white out! (One could only guess why they were using white out.)

    Then, check out precinct 1823 in downtown Seattle. Over 500 voters registered at the same address, some twice.

    And if you don’t think a hand recount is less accurate than a machine tally, then you are a real dumbass, Ken.

    And I’m gonna wish you a Merry Christmas Kenny, just because I know it is gonna piss you off. Ha!

  4. ken says:

    John Lemon, do you have a shred of evidence for your claims? No? OK, have Merry Christmas anyway.

  5. LT says:

    Republican PARTY???

    Are you kidding! – the Republican party is long gone – taken over by the religious facists of the conservative party.

    You do not win the race any longer you win the proaganda war
    the spin is the truth and to lie is a a conservative moral value.

    Get Real James

  6. anjin-san says:

    Where is the GOP’s outrage over voting problems in Ohio? Oh, right, they won there…

  7. Scott says:

    Seattle = Corruption
    King County = Evil

    Thank God the GOP won every thing else:
    I hope the Dems (Evil Party) chokes on all those nationallosses for a long time.

    Washington state can go to hell!!!