Who Really Won?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Washington State: Let The Counting Continue

- A federal judge Sunday denied the state Republican Party's bid to force Washington's most populous county to stop counting some ballots in the recount of the governor's race.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman denied the GOP's request for a temporary restraining order barring the hand-counting of ballots in King County that were rejected because they could not be read electronically.

"It was a good decision," state Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt said. "It's good for voters because it's consistent with the standard we would like to see — that every vote be counted."

After all counties reported their tallies last Wednesday, Republican Dino Rossi led Democrat Christine Gregoire by only 261 votes out of some 2.8 million ballots cast. State law requires a machine recount when the margin is less than 2,000 votes.

Republicans sued Secretary of State Sam Reed and the King County Division of Elections on Saturday, arguing that ballots that could not be counted electronically should be excluded from the recount because they would have to be checked by hand.

Republicans started their lawsuit arguing that counting ballots cast in a different ways shouldn't be counted in a different ways. In other words, how you cast your ballot (not usually your choice) determines how valid it should be when it comes to an automatic recount. And apparently they can argue and sue over this with a straight face.