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.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

All eyes on Wenatchee

Tomorrow, Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges issues possibly the most important decision he'll ever issue in his career: whether or not to uphold or overturn the Washington State gubernatorial election.

There's fine and lengthy analysis of the trial on several fine blogs throughout the regional blogosphere. We particularly recommend TJ from Also Also and David Goldstein of Together with our efforts here, you'll find the most comprehensive coverage of the just concluded election contest trial.


After nine days of arguments, testimony, cross examination, debate, and questioning, what do we think?

We believe that Judge Bridges will uphold the election of Christine O. Gregoire as the Governor of Washington State. That's our belief and our prediction.

An election contest, especially for the most important office in the state, is a very serious business. And this election contest has been taken very seriously by both parties, who have spent millions of dollars to fight the case. The outcome has enormous ramifications, and that's why we'll be watching intently to see what happens on Monday.

The statute and the case law are undeniably on our side - Governor Gregoire's side, and the Democrats' side. The Republicans have pursued this election contest not because they believe in fairness, not because they believe in honesty or accountability, not because they believe in responsiblity, but because they believe in winning.

Any strategy that can put Dino Rossi into the governor's mansion is a strategy worth pursuing. That is what the GOP has done. They're using the context of a close election and mistakes made by election workers and administrators to manufacture allegations of fraud and ballot stuffing.


Because they believe in winning. For them, the truth has lost any credibility that it might have had. Just visit wingnut blogs and look around in the comment threads to hear the talk about the election being stolen by Democrats. The grousing is still going on, even today.

The Republican legal team knows there isn't much hope that they can prevail. You could tell from GOP lawyer Harry Korrell's weak closing statement that Republicans aren't all that confident that they can win.

The Republicans did not, could not, and will never be able to prove that Dino Rossi recieved more votes than Christine Gregoire in last year's gubernatorial election. Their entire case hangs on the hope that Judge John Bridges will buy into their convoluted theory and use it to subtract enough votes from Governor Gregoire's vote tally to declare Rossi the winner.

We don't think Judge Bridges is willing to do that - nor do we think he is going to. Judge Bridges is a very smart, knowledgable judge with a good sense of humor. He has realized both the importance and the magnitude of this case, including its historical significance.

He clearly recognizes that the standard for throwing out an election should be a high standard. Republicans are claiming two things: first, they met the standard, and second, the standard shouldn't be set that high. The fact that they are making the second claim is evidence enough they don't put too much stock in their own case.

Ever since the founding of this nation, we've had high legal standards. Judges and juries are not supposed to convict citizens who are standing trial unless they are sure "beyond a reasonable doubt" of the person's guilt. That's a high standard, and rightly so.

Judge Bridges understands that the standard has to be high. Otherwise, any time an election was considered to be remotely close, an election contest would be filed. Judge Bridges clearly has no desire to hear another election contest trial, as he remarked to the lawyers in the case: "I've enjoyed having you folks in front of me immensely. But I don't want to see any of you again."

And obviously he has no desire to set a precedent that will lead to more and more election contests being filed before his colleagues - fellow judges - across the state.

The Republicans failed to meet the high standard spelled out by state law and by Judge Bridges. That's why the judge is going to rule against them and uphold the election on Monday morning. And that is why, before too long, the state Supreme Court will uphold Judge Bridges' ruling, and the GOP will learn to think twice about filing another election contest in the future.

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