Washington’s Felons Chose Governor

Who won illegal votes of felons? (SPI)

Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire won more votes from urbanites in the 2004 election while Dino Rossi, her Republican opponent, got more rural votes. Gregoire had probably more women’s votes and Rossi more from men.

OK, but which candidate captured the hearts of the convicted felons who broke the law by voting? Republicans said in court papers yesterday that at least 1,108 felons voted illegally, as did at least 55 other voters — a total more than eight times as large as Gregoire’s 129-vote margin of victory over Rossi in a hand recount. But Democratic Party lawyers argue that for the Republicans to win their lawsuit to overturn Gregoire’s election, they must prove that those voters substantially favored the Democratic governor — which might require dragging individual felons into court to say for whom they voted.
Since 884 of the 1,108 felons voted illegally in King County, which Gregoire carried with 58 percent of the votes to Rossi’s 40 percent, “that is not good news for Christine Gregoire,” Lane said.

One would think. Rather clearly, though, the courts in Washington are stacked to favor the Democrats. It’s a sad situation.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, Law and the Courts,
James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. dw says:

    I wouldn’t say the courts are stacked against them. The GOP is suing on their home turf — Chelan County. The state Supreme Court is very disparate politically and includes a pretty staunch Libertarian. The problem for the GOP is that the judge in Chelan has already said he can’t order a new election; only the Legislature can, and it’s now majority Democrat in both houses. Even if they flip the state house in ’06, it would be ludicrious for them to order a new election in ’07 on the heels of the general in ’08.

    I just did some quick math… assuming the felons voted 2% for the Libertarian, the felon votes go 58-40 for Gregoire, and they voted for Rossi 3 to 2 elsewhere in the state, you get Gregoire +94. Significant, but not enough to flip the election. The GOP needs something more. Good luck with the snipe hunt, guys.