In Sunday’s Seattle Times, David Postman lays out Dino Rossi’s options in challenging the results of the hand recount in the gubernatorial race. [Votes tallied for governor, but what’s next is unclear]
It’s a pretty straightforward discussion, though I do take issue with one very important misstatement. Postman continues to refer to the 735 disputed ballots as “rejected,” but the Supreme Court decision made it clear that these were misfiled ballots that never had their canvassing completed. This is a potentially significant legal distinction.
As to what we can expect from a contest, Postman only cites one example of an election contest that resulted in setting aside the results of an election. This concerned a 1974 Adams County commissioner race, in which the courts determined that a number of ballots had likely been altered between the original count and the recount. I’m not exactly sure if this says anything about our current situation, but I encourage you to read Foulkes v. Hays for yourself before educating me as to your own opinions on the case.
The burden of proof is quite heavy. Rossi would have to find enough errors or fraudulent votes sufficient to change the outcome of the election. 130 errors is not enough — there have to be enough errors to result in a net advantage to Gregoire of 130 votes.
My guess is that if we don’t start hearing soon about some hard evidence of fraud or misconduct, Rossi may skip an election contest, and go straight to federal court. Or, he may just lick his wounds and concede.