Republicans are demanding a list of voters in Washington state’s most populous county as the party considers a court challenge of Democrat Christine Gregoire’s razor-thin victory in the governor’s race, officials said Monday.
A hand recount put Gregoire ahead by 130 votes out of 2.8 million cast. Previous counts had favored Republican Dino Rossi, a former state senator.
Chris Vance, state Republican party chairman, said officials will decide whether to challenge the recount results after studying the voter rolls from King County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Seattle.
“We’re mostly posing questions,” he said. “King County is where we saw the votes changing. King County is the one county that was allowed to take ballots that were declared dead in November and bring them back to life in December.”
'Fishing expedition' alleged
Democrats accused the Republicans of being on “a fishing expedition” and urged them to concede or risk damaging Rossi’s political future by dragging out an election already eight weeks old.
State officials will certify the statewide hand recount on Thursday, declaring Gregoire, a three-term attorney general, the victor.
The latest tally included 732 disputed ballots from King County, which the state Supreme Court last week ruled could be counted despite objections from Republicans. The ballots had been mistakenly thrown out because of problems scanning signatures into a computer.
Vance said any voter can contest the election within 10 days of certification.
“Overwhelmingly, from the grass roots of the party, the feeling is ‘Don’t give up. Keep fighting,”’ he said.
Democrats scoffed at the GOP demand for voter information.
“It’s a fishing expedition,” said state party Chairman Paul Berendt. “They (the Republicans) know a challenge in the courts would have to be based on fraud or gross negligence, neither of which is the case here.”