Dems Rest Case in Washington Vote Trial
Saturday June 4, 2005 12:01 AM
AP Photo WAET803
By REBECCA COOK
Associated Press Writer
WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - Democrats defending the disputed 2004 governor's election rested their case Friday in a trial challenging the results of a race won by just 129 votes.
Democratic attorneys submitted depositions and documents from counties across the state to support their claims that election errors happened everywhere. Their exhibits included a thank-you card from President Bush to an ex-convict, a staunch Republican who allegedly voted illegally in the 2004 election - intended to show that not all felons vote Democrat.
GOP attorneys planned to question rebuttal witnesses later Friday, and then both sides planned to make their closing arguments.
Republicans challenging Gov. Christine Gregoire's victory have focused on errors in the Democratic stronghold of King County, the state's most populous.
They contend the errors indicate fraud and want the election overturned to allow a new contest between Gregoire and Republican candidate Dino Rossi.
Judge John Bridges said he plans to rule Monday on whether to nullify the election. Both sides say they will appeal to the state Supreme Court if they lose.
On the witness stand Friday morning, lead GOP election observer Dan Brady testified about lax security for ballots in King County - for example, a ballot vault that was usually open and unguarded. He also said observers couldn't see ballots at every step of the counting and recounting.
Later, Democratic attorney Kevin Hamilton asked Brady several times about GOP State Chairman Chris Vance's Nov. 9 statement that there was no fraud in King County.
``I don't recall these statements,'' Brady said.
Hamilton then played part of a Nov. 9 televised town hall meeting in Seattle, in which Vance said about King County election workers: ``These are dedicated professionals. ... I know there is no fraud, there is nothing nefarious going on here in Washington state.''
Republican attorney Rob Maguire asked if Brady thought Vance had since changed his view. ``I believe he has,'' Brady replied.
Gregoire, who was the state's attorney general at the time of the election last fall, lost the first count and a machine recount, then won a final, hand recount. It was the slimmest winning margin, by percentage, in any gubernatorial election in U.S. history. Rossi and the state Republican Party sued to overturn the election and want a new election this fall.
On the Net:
Trial video: http://www.tvw.org