Republicans pay Democrats as final settlement in frivolous election suit

Well, it’s only $15,000, but it’s the thought that counts. Dino Rossi’s election contest slap nuisance suit has finally come to an official close with a one sentence written order by Judge John Bridges, and Republicans delivering a $15,000 check to Democrats to pay for court costs. The Dems had asked for $48,000, but agreed to settle for less.

GOPolitburo Chair Chris Vance dismissed the settlement as “a business decision”… but then, the entire election contest was a business decision. The Republicans dragged this frivolous case through the courts, knowing they had little or no chance of prevailing, because they felt the legal and financial costs were well worth the potential PR victory. Unfortunately for the R’s, Christine Gregoire governed effectively and authoritatively throughout the ongoing controversy… and while Ron Sims’ political fortunes may have been tarnished by the relentless assault on his office, the Republicans have been unable to capitalize by putting up a viable alternative for King County Executive. (David Irons…? Gimme a break.)

The GOP faithful have also deluded themselves into thinking that this debacle will somehow help them capture Maria Cantwell’s US Senate seat in 2006; they’re going to have to find themselves a decent candidate first… and if he’s a man of his word, it won’t be Rossi. But whoever they run, the political dynamics of that race will focus less on local politics, and more on whether WA voters want to hand complete and total control of the Federal government to the right-wing of the Republican Party. This election will be about whether voters in a state that gave decisive victories to John Kerry and Patty Murray are willing to give an automatic cloture vote to Bill Frist, Tom DeLay and Karl Rove (and his talking dummy.)

As for the inevitable rematch in the 2008 governor’s race, that’s still a long ways away, and if Gov. Gregoire runs the same kind of timid, visionless campaign that allowed Rossi to turn this last one into a virtual tie, well then… she’ll deserve to lose. But she ain’t stoopid.

Plus, if Rossi attempts to capture the sympathy vote by running on the “stolen election” theme, there is a simple refutation… Judge Bridges final order:

“As set forth in the Court’s oral ruling of dismissal on June 6, 2005 … this election contest petition is dismissed with prejudice and the certification of Christine Gregoire as the duly elected Governor of the State of Washington is hereby confirmed.”

Judge Bridges rejected every single Republican claim. The case was “dismissed with prejudice” for a reason… there was no case. That’s why the R’s paid the D’s court costs. If Rossi tries to ride this issue into 2008, he’s going to come off looking like a poor loser. Plus, the role of victim simply doesn’t suit Rossi, and runs counter to the supposedly positive, forward-looking, agent-of-change theme that almost got him elected.

The recipe for a Gregoire victory in 2008 is simple. She needs to be an effective and popular governor, while her fellow Democrats in the Legislature and in King County need to largely address the legitimate concerns that were raised by the unprecedented scrutiny of the 2004 election. Force Rossi to run on real issues, and he loses, because really, there are very few issues that work to his advantage.

If Rossi insists on making the 2004 election the heart of his 2008 campaign, he’s destined to be a three-time loser… two elections and his stupid-ass law suit.

UPDATE:
Reader Mark pointed out that I incorrectly used the term “slap suit” in my opening sentence. It was in fact a “nuisance suit.” I stand corrected.

Comments

  1. 4

    Another TJ spews:

    Chuck, you’ve used that line many times. When are you going to get it? There are NO elected dog catcher positions in the United States. No one, not even Billy Graham, could get elected dog catcher.

  2. 5

    Mark spews:

    Goldy,

    I know that the GOP’s court loss has emboldened you guys, but please don’t think this makes every donkey a lawyer. I believe the term you’re trying to say is “SLAPP suit” — Strategic Lawsuit (or Litigation) Against Public Participation. However, this is not what the petitioners (who did not include Rossi personally) filed. At worst, you could call this a “nuisance suit” and that would only be because the GOP lawyers lost the case. The fact remains that the petitioners’ lawyers presented a weak case with poor strategy — as you so often pointed out. A SLAPP suit would be if the GOP personally sued you and every other donkey blogger and the prospect of massive defense costs resulted in you just yanking the site instead of fighting it.

    I have to say that I respect your opinion — especially when not laced with superfluous profanities — though your reasoning tends to go more wacky in proportion to your passion for an issue. I think you could use a dose more tolerance for ideas that aren’t in lockstep with your ideology, though. But you could just be trying to generate controversy and conflict to build site traffic. So, you might need to decide if you’re going to be a pseudo-Limbaugh/Franken or if you actually want to solve problems, regardless of who came up with the solution. I’m hoping for the latter.

  3. 8

    prr spews:

    Christine Gregoire is still a questionably elected official.

    The next elections should be very interesting……..

  4. 9

    Another TJ spews:

    My most sincere and humble apologies, Chuck. If your link is accurate, you found one elected dog catcher in the U.S. The Wikipedia link doesn’t cite any examples.

    Now smartass, any more comments?

    Sure. “Dismissed with prejudice.”

  5. 10

    Goldy spews:

    Mark @5,

    Thanks for pointing out that the election contest was a “nuisance” suit, not a “slap” suit. I have updated my post accordingly.

    As to the style and tone of my posts, since day one, when I had only a handful of readers, I have always written to amuse myself. That I occasionally amuse and inform others is a bonus. I occasionally have fun with hyperbole or extremely dry satire, but I always try to remain honest.

  6. 11

    prr spews:

    Thought i would share this little nugget with this board.

    My wife and I received our voter registration cards this week.

    I received 2 in my name, she received two in hers and one in her maiden name.

    Happy to hear that all of the problem with this past election have been addressed.

  7. 12

    dj spews:

    Another TJ @ 9 and Chuck @ 6

    Chuck’s example hardly counts, the Duxbury, VT dogcatcher position is a non-balloted position elected at a town hall meeting.

  8. 13

    dj spews:

    prr @ 11

    How many voter IDs are there in all those cards? If there is only one per person, then the multiple cards are irrelevant.

    If more than one, then you should contact the elections office and correct the problem. Whether you like it our not, our election system relies to a certain extent on integrity of individuals to keep the information straight.

    You are the second Republican to point this kind of thing out recently. I am beginning to think there is some kind of distributed Republican voter fraud going on. . . . :-)

  9. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Ummm … Goldy, the term “dismissed with prejudice” doesn’t mean there was no case, it means the suit can’t be refiled.

    Mark @ 5 – the GOP lawyers presented a weak case because they had no evidence to support their claims. The best litigation strategy can’t overcome lack of evidence.

  10. 15

    U2 spews:

    #4. I think you are mistaken, If we here at HA hold an election for ‘dog catcher’ Chuckie boy would have a close contest with CynicalIdiot and ChardsofRubbish

  11. 16

    Mark spews:

    Roger @ 14

    A good lawyer can make a silk purse from a sow’s ear in the courtroom. From what I saw of the case, there seemed to be a lack of a unified and clear direction. Agree with him or not, Sharkansky did a better job laying out his arguments online.

  12. 17

    Goldy spews:

    Mark @16,

    Sharkansky did a better job of laying out his arguments because he wasn’t constrained by the facts.

  13. 18

    spews:

    prr@11:

    It sounds to me like King County is doing just what you snidely suggest they aren’t … preparing to update and clean up their voter records. So what’s your problem, aside from the extra voter IDs that I’m sure you’ll report to Dean Logan and his team?

    Yes, they’ve been slow to get going on this effort. Other (frivolous) factors kept them from getting to the task until very recently. You may have heard something about the (frivolous) interference with their work.

  14. 19

    Another TJ spews:

    Chuck’s example hardly counts, the Duxbury, VT dogcatcher position is a non-balloted position elected at a town hall meeting.

    Balloted or not, it appears to be selected by the community through some democratic process. I’m giving it to him; fair is fair.

  15. 20

    Dick Hertz spews:

    Judge Bridges rejected every single Republican claim. The case was “dismissed with prejudice” for a reason… there was no case. That’s why the R’s paid the D’s court costs.

    Not entirely correct. In litigation, the loser is often taxed with the winner’s costs, but that in and of itself doesn’t mean the case was frivolous. If it was frivolous, the loser would get taxed with the winner’s costs and attorney’s fees. Unsuccessful != frivolous, and there were enough doubts here about the King County Elections Office, etc., that the Rs could have shown a colorable claim, even if unsuccessful.

  16. 21

    prr spews:

    N in Seattle…

    “It sounds to me like King County is doing just what you snidely suggest they aren’t …”

    Give me a break & don’t make excuses for them. The fact that anyone in that department is still employed is absolutely pathetic.

    Added to that these these types of problems are still occurring with regular frequency tells me that absolutely nothing will be accomplished.

  17. 22

    righton spews:

    You guys make yellow dog democrat look like a respectable term; that is we could have a dead person working at KCRE and you’d still defend him….

    what does it take to get election system reformed, so you cannot stuff the ballot box like you did this time?

    (bridges never said that didn’t happen, just that we didn’t find enough dead people or felons to interview and get their original votes via affidavit)

  18. 23

    windie spews:

    what Bridges did was give the Reps a tongue-lashing. It was quite the unfriendly judgement.

  19. 24

    dj spews:

    prr @ 21

    “Give me a break & don’t make excuses for them. The fact that anyone in that department is still employed is absolutely pathetic. Added to that these these types of problems are still occurring with regular frequency tells me that absolutely nothing will be accomplished.”

    Holy shit you do have one fucked-up view of the world. The voter registration systems all over the place rely on (1) voters registering, (2) periodic mailings that result in returned mail, citizen input, etc. (3) voter crediting after elections, and (4) a few miscelanous methods (state felon disenfranchisement) to maintain voter records.

    You should feel proud that you can assist with #2 and instead you whine (like a loser). If you don’t like step #2 being involved, then get an initiative going that raises taxes so that #2 can be replaced with an annual county-wide census of registered voters. Otherwise, quit your bellyaching—it shows your lack of understand about the elections system.

  20. 25

    Marilyn spews:

    prr@11 & various: So…what are you going to do with the extra voter registration cards. Are you going to turn in the extras with a request that the records be corrected? That might be instructive – you could learn why you are getting multiple cards; or, I guess you could tear them up without saying anything at all to the elections board? Sell them? Do you vote poll or absentee? Just curious.

    @21: I agree King county is administratively incompetent – I just don’t agree that it cost Dino the election. I think it cost Governor Gregoire and certainly it fed GOP’s rabid zeal to assault Gregoire’s legitimacy for whatever reasons they could conjure up. So…maybe you ought to send them a thank you note since they made Dino look so much better than he might have otherwise. As for making excuses for the KC elections – I don’t. Obviously, I don’t like Ron Sims any better
    than you do, but I have different reasons. Marilyn

  21. 26

    righton spews:

    dJ; for free, KCRE could say, “yeah, we need to go find the illegal voters ….first example is felons. We won’t say its not our job any longer, no more finger pointing to the D.A’s office.

  22. 27

    prr spews:

    Marilyn,

    I’ve already tried contacting the King County elections office to find out what going on. Guess what, when you call the customer service # they have listed on their website (296-vote) no-one answers and no voice mail comes on.

    Am I supposed to have to take off a day of work to go to the elections office to see if they can do their job right?

    As to what will i do with themultiple cards? That’s why I was calling them, to find out what I should do to correct this problem.

    This has been consistent with my experience at King County Elections.

    In regards to your question.

    This past election I voted absentee for my first and only time. I came to find I was one of the lucky 573 to have initially been blown off until Larry Philips got involved.

    DJ @ 24

    No, I don’t feel proud of this system.

    I’ve had to address King County Elctions on multipe occassions attempting for them to get things straight.

    Ultimately, they have proven themselves to be negligent in accomplishing what they are paid to do.

    I find your attitude to be naive.

  23. 29

    spews:

    prr@27:

    I’ve already tried contacting the King County elections office to find out what going on. Guess what, when you call the customer service # they have listed on their website (296-vote) no-one answers and no voice mail comes on.

    Am I supposed to have to take off a day of work to go to the elections office to see if they can do their job right?

    As to what will i do with themultiple cards? That’s why I was calling them, to find out what I should do to correct this problem.

    You are so full of goddam shit.

    I just called 296-VOTE. It was answered after one ring. The voice-menu system quickly and sensibly led me to “cancelling a registration”, where I was informed that I could write or fax to a specified address or fax number with the pertinent information. No fuss, no muss.

    Now, I would have preferred that they include voter registration number as “pertinent information” if you know it, but nothing prevents the letter from mentioning it in your letter. I’d just state the facts — I got X number of cards with these registration numbers, please cancel X-1 of them, leaving only the one with registration number xxxxxxxxxxx (I’d probably keep the one with the most recent date of issue).

    Do let us know, Mr. and Mrs. prr, when you’ve done your civic duty.

  24. 31

    righton spews:

    Nice civil discourse you encourage here Goldy. Blogging w/ profanities just leads to this…

  25. 32

    Sick of both sides... spews:

    So many of these people curse and talk so crudely here because they have the anonymity of the internet to hide behind (not you goldy — I’ve seen and heard you). Lots of courage there. I wonder if they would dare talk that way to ones face. All the cursing and ‘bad behavior’ means to me is that they are uneducated (maybe went to school, but obviously didn’t learn much) and ignorant.

    Can’t wait to see the sophistication of the response to this…

  26. 36

    spews:

    Sure, I’d tell prr that he’s full of goddam shit to his face. What’s the big deal? It’s a mild epithet.

    I don’t often use the strong ones, here or FTF.

  27. 38

    Donnageddon spews:

    Hey, N, Post you social security # too. Nothing to worry about, its only the internet. :)

  28. 40

    prr spews:

    Donnageddon,

    Kinda what I thought.

    Horsesass, the land where the anonymous liberals are the toughest people in the world.

  29. 41

    Donnageddon spews:

    prr, I don’t see your name, address and phone number posted here?

    Don’t forget your visa # and VAT #

  30. 42

    spews:

    I’ve made it known that I’m at least a semi-regular at DrinkingLiberally (though I don’t think I’ll be there tonight due to the KC Dems Nominating Convention). Anyone in that group would gladly point me out.

    Unlike you, I’ve made it possible to contact me outside of this comment box. Why are you hiding unreachably behind your initials (if they’re really your initials, that is)?

  31. 43

    dj spews:

    prr @ 27

    “I’ve had to address King County Elctions on multipe occassions attempting for them to get things straight.”

    That’s interesting. Every interaction I have had with KC Elections has been flawless. Of course, I know how to use a fucking telephone! :-) (Yeah. . . cheap shot, I know).

  32. 44

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Mark @ 16

    From what I saw, the Repubs paid $2 million to the best lawyers in the state, but let a local politician make their arguments. From what I saw, those good lawyers had no evidence to substantiate their claims.

    By the way, the cute fluffy bunny will not be at Drinking Liberally tonight, as the cute fluffy bunny has a highly contagious flu and was running a fever of nearly 105 earlier today. The cute fluffy bunny can barely crawl, and hopping is out of the question.

  33. 45

    dj spews:

    righton @ 26

    for free, KCRE could say, “yeah, we need to go find the illegal voters ….first example is felons. We won’t say its not our job any longer, no more finger pointing to the D.A’s office.”

    I am not sure I follow what you are getting at. . . we were talking here about voter registration cards, not illegal voters.

    Finding registered disenfranchised felons is not KC election’s job. KC does not have statutory authority to “find felons.” No other county in the state does either.

  34. 46

    dj spews:

    righton @ 31 and sick @ 32

    “Nice civil discourse you encourage here Goldy. Blogging w/ profanities just leads to this…”

    Listen, you fucking morons, this is not a public resource. This is GOLDY’S PERSONAL BLOG. We are his guests.

    If you don’t like the tone that Goldy sets or the “edgyness” it fosters in the comment threads, then surf your ass over to WWW://PuritansBloggingForBetterTastingSoap.org

    Go quietly and I’ll spare you the Cheney 3-word salute.

  35. 50

    dj spews:

    righton @ 49

    “whose job is it then to find the crooks”

    What are you asking here? The police find crooks, in general. But, the disenfranchised felon thing is not really about “finding crooks,” unless you are talking about post-election prosecution of people who have illegally voted. I though we were talking about finding and removing disenfranchised felons from the voting roles (a completely different process).

    The county has no authority to identify and remove felons from their voting roles. By statute, the courts must tell the counties to remove people convicted of a felony from the voter roles. Whence, the new state “felon database” legislation that was passed in the last session.

  36. 51

    Righton spews:

    I”m talking about the finger pointing this campaign. Nobody on either side (KCRE or Courts) stepped up to say “I’ll fix this”

    Perfect catch22 that enables continued fraud. We had what 1500 illegal votes and what about 5 peopel prosecuted.

    Still mailing ballots to dead people.

    Why isn’t court sending list of all felons to KCRE or KCRE sending list of suspect fraudulant voters

    Its not partisan; its an issue of good government. But until “gov’t” steps up, citizens deservedly remain cynical. Surely you see that.

  37. 52

    dj spews:

    righton @ 51,

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. Yes, there has been a real disconnect between the state and the counties in ensuring disenfranchised felons are removed from the rolls. The legislation just passed was targeted at fixing this problem.

    I fully agree with you that this is an issue of good government. There are many people who would like to change the felon disenfranchisement laws. But, I think almost everyone agrees that so long as these laws are in place, ineligible citizens should not be able to vote.

    I am with you in expecting the state to fully implement the new procedures and the counties to fully utilize the information to remove from the roles those people who are not eligible to vote. You are absolutely correct in saying that this is not a partisan issue!

  38. 53

    zip spews:

    To quote the future ruling class (presently in high school): “Whatever.”

    If you’ve ever been drug into court in a lawsuit, you would just pay the $15k to get out of it. Yes this is a “business decision”.

  39. 54

    righton spews:

    dj; to pile back on, our radio leaders from the right tell us going to all absentee just compounds this, that is, makes “unchecked or unverified” voting all the more likely and easy. I guess cuz i don’t see KCRE or even Reed knowing what is up, i tend to agree w/ my right wing gurus.

    Ya’ll have thoughts on how mail in won’t turn into sophisticated fraud? That is, will it still depend on the honor system, can i register my dog and get away with it (as long as i’m willing to lie and risk a crime)?

  40. 55

    dj spews:

    righton @ 54,

    “our radio leaders from the right tell us going to all absentee just compounds this, that is, makes “unchecked or unverified” voting all the more likely and easy. . . i tend to agree…. Ya’ll have thoughts on how mail in won’t turn into sophisticated fraud? That is, will it still depend on the honor system, can i register my dog and get away with it (as long as i’m willing to lie and risk a crime)?”

    First, we already have mail-in voting (optional in most counties), so going to all mail-in does not enable any new kind of fraud option, does it? You could register your dog and goldfish right now if you were determined to do so.

    So, the real question must be whether we should eliminate mail-in voting altogether. The trade-off is between minimizing (but not eliminating) the possibility of fraud versus enabling voting for as many people who are entitled to vote as is possible. Right now society has determined that disenfranchising out of state (or out of country) military personnel, shut-ins, truckers, airline personnel, etc. is not a good thing.

    Regarding right-wing gurus: I’ve not heard any of the arguments directly from these folks, so I may well be overlooking some of their important arguments. But, in general I would expect the right to come out against mail-in voting simply on grounds that mail-in voting makes it easier for poor people to vote. Rural poor no longer need to get a ride (or drive) long distances to the nearest poll; urban poor don’t need to stand in the long lines that tend to characterize polling places in poor urban settings. People working 2 or 3 jobs just to break even have a harder time going to the polls, etc. On the other hand, it does enable voting for out of state military folks. On balance, mail-in voting probably benefits Democrats a little more than Republicans (but I might be wrong on this).

    righton, what is your sense of the magnitude of the problem? Is there any solid evidence from opponents of mail-in voting that the holes enabled by it result in increased fraud? The only evidence I know of is the 19 votes on behalf of deceased voters and the 6 double votes found in the WA 2004 general election. These numbers seem tiny compared to the 3 million legal votes. Is it worth disenfranchising, 100,000 or more people entitled to vote in order to eliminate those 25 illegal votes?

    Also, what is the relative value to you for these two cases: (1) disenfranchising one citizen who is entitled to vote and wants to but cannot vote without mail-in, or (2) allowing a single ineligible person to vote.

    Numerically, (1) and (2) have the same effect on an election: they change the outcome by a single vote. Therefore, I tend to boil this down to a simple math problem. Enabling 100,000+ people who want to vote but cannot without mail-in wins out over preventing 25 illegal votes (i.e. ideally we could eliminate most or all of those 25 illegal votes, but not at the cost of disenfranchising 100,000 people).

  41. 56

    righton spews:

    DJ; dunno. That is, i’m knee jerk. If powers that be (sims, logan, reed) all want mail in, then I’m against it. I don’t trust their intelligence (on this matter) nor their objectivity.

    As for the old debate (kind of like lockup 1 innocent person or free a criminal), I guess I’m less democratic. In a town where the cops can’t ask bad drivers if they even are citizens, I see greater fraud, but signing up anything that passes the “fog test” (a person who is breathing), rather than signing up only non felon citizens who live here.

    Of course that backs into politics, since Dems blur the citizen non citizen line as a test for many things, I’m assumeing softness also on this for Dems over time. Repubs would shrink back to voters with a ID card in their wallet as only way to cast legal vote.

    I guess if gov’t could count every ballot, i’d be ok in them counting “every vote” (that is, ok, a little loose on who votes, as long as simutaneiously people aren’t voting twice). Last election showed KCRE unable to win both issues (that is, they didn’t quite know where or how the ballots were cast or counted, and they aggressivley chased down every possible (dem) vote (e.g. canvassing for those signature votes after the election)

  42. 57

    dj spews:

    righton @ 56

    “Dems blur the citizen non citizen line as a test for many things, I’m assumeing softness also on this for Dems over time.”

    That is an interesting statement. I’ve never heard of Dems bluring the lines between citizen and non citizen. It seem like a “line” from a right-wing talk show host to me.

    As I recall, there were TWO non-citizen voters identified in the 2004 WA General election. There is no evidence that their registration had anything to do with either political party. One of them (a UW undergraduate student) said he registered himself thinking he was eligible and immediatelly canceled his registration after learning he was not eligible.

    “Repubs would shrink back to voters with a ID card in their wallet as only way to cast legal vote.”

    The ID card would not solve the non-citizen “problem” would it? I mean, foreigners can acquire driver’s licenses, too.

    In any case, righton, I suspect that a photo-ID system will eventually happen everywhere in the U.S. Right now, there is still a substantial chunk of the population who have no photo-ID. In another 10 years, as our society increasingly becomes a security state (“Papers, please!”), people will have an increasingly difficult time getting by without a photo ID.

    In the mean time, take comfort in knowing that a manditory ID for poll voting would not have eliminated a single illegal vote in the WA 2004 general election. (Actually, it would have prevented thousands of eligible voters from voting because they have no photo ID, and a small number of felons might have been prevented from voting in the same way).

    “I guess if gov’t could count every ballot, i’d be ok in them counting “every vote” (that is, ok, a little loose on who votes, as long as simutaneiously people aren’t voting twice).”

    Right. . . nobody wants duplicate or illegal votes.

    “Last election showed KCRE unable to win both issues (that is, they didn’t quite know where or how the ballots were cast or counted”

    They certainly need better procedures to prevent small batches of ballots from not being counted the first time. This seems like a trivially simple thing to fix. (Oh. . . and many other counties in the state have to fix these same problems, too).

    “, and they aggressivley chased down every possible (dem) vote (e.g. canvassing for those signature votes after the election)”

    No they did not. If KCRE HAD done so, I would would have been outraged.

    KCRE released the list of voters (without any kind of party affiliation attached) to both the Democrats and the Republicans. The Democrats apparently did a better job with the list (i.e. the Republicans blew it!). Not an issue with KCRE.

  43. 58

    righton spews:

    dj; gotta disagree

    a) Look at non-resident Dr. who got to keep voting here..betch $10 he votes in Georgia also

    b) Greatest potential for fraud here (i agree w/ you partly) is less the voter side of it, but rather fact (and i mean fact) that KC refuses to accurately count ballots, match ballots. Treat them like cash, or like Mariners tickets, or something from real world where you get fired if they don’t. Ridiculous the next election will still enable (see Shark requote of the law) you to vote provisional with no backend requirement to accurately count. Its the KCRE problem. Let me or some beancounter type run this and we’d put the screws to having more ballots than voters, excess provisionals, etc. Yeah, and even if it precludes a few that’s ok.

    I don’t see “voter intent” as mandating no good counting. Logan (high school grad) says his hands are tied; i say baloney, he’s a bureaucrat unable to do the right thing