Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Judge preserves the status quo

Chelan County Superior Court Judge Bridges has ruled on another set of motions this morning, mostly preserving the status quo, but handing Democrats an important set of victories. David Postman


of the Seattle Times has done an excellent job
reporting from the courthouse today. His article is excerpted below:
Bridges this morning said he would allow Republicans to offer statistical analysis to show how illegal voters cast ballots in the November governor's election.

In Chelan County Superior Court, Bridges denied a Democratic Party motion to exclude the evidence, saying he did not see anything in law or court precedent that would prohibit the use of expert testimony to show how illegal votes were cast.

But Bridges said he was not yet accepting the statistical analysis as valid for the trial set to begin May 23. He said the Republican evidence is subject to a separate hearing where Democrats can challenge its scientific value.
Bridges said he would allow the GOP to make its "proportional analysis" (or speculative attribution) presentation to the court. He did not say that he would accept that argument. So that ruling is merely a preservation of the status quo.

The GOP lost a crucial motion when the judge then ruled that he will allow the Democrats to present evidence of election errors that helped the GOP:

On another issue, Bridges sided with Democrats, saying he would allow them to introduce evidence of election errors that benefited Rossi. Republicans had made a motion to prohibit Democrats from introducing evidence of any of those "off-setting errors."
That is an important victory for the Democrats, since it allows them to counter the GOP's evidence at trial.

In another significant ruling:
In granting a Democratic motion, Bridges said that any party alleging illegal votes will have to produce in court a copy of the voter’s signature in a polling place book or on the envelope of an absentee or provisional ballot.

Bridges said crediting is a “post-election administrative exercise” and “does not bear upon the authenticity of election results.”
This only makes it harder to prove that felons actually voted. It also kills most of the GOP's "election mess" argument - the discrepancy between ballots counted and voters credited.

The judge also granted yet another Democratic motion:

Bridges said Republicans will have to present "clear and convincing" evidence that a felon voted, a higher standard than Republicans had hoped for.

Bridges also set out six standards, similar to what Democrats had proposed, that will have to be shown for the court to consider a vote illegally cast.
So while the big news of the day is that Bridges will hear out the GOP's proportional analysis argument in court, the Democrats have recieved a string of key victories that will all be important at the trial.

The status quo continues but a number of things were decided today. The main action will be at the trial, which will begin later this month.

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