Republican candidate Dino Rossi's call for a new election in the incredibly close Washington governor's race is the wrong plan for our state. An election can be contested in the...

Share story

Republican candidate Dino Rossi’s call for a new election in the incredibly close Washington governor’s race is the wrong plan for our state.

An election can be contested in the courts or perhaps the Legislature, but the law does not specifically provide for a new election. Venturing into such relatively uncharted territory would further erode voter confidence.
Some who voted in November have died; others have come of voting age, making it a different electorate. If the election were held, say, in February, as former Secretary of State Ralph Munro suggested, turnout could be dramatically different.

Today, Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed plans to certify results by election officials in 39 counties. Democrat Christine Gregoire becomes governor-elect. As voters have come to expect, that may not be the end of it, but it should be.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Significantly, this week, county canvassing boards around the state — boards made up of election and elected officials — refused a request by Republicans to reconsider ballots previously rejected for a variety of reasons. In many counties, board members are Republicans who support Rossi, but they concluded a third certification was the proper conclusion to vote counting.

Republicans are running out of options. They have the right to contest the election and seek additional information from King County or other counties if that will make the election process more clear. But the request feels like a fishing expedition.

Democrats, too, have work to do in a sharply divided state. The Democratic Party should forego reimbursement from the counties of $730,000 — the cost of the hand recount. Some money came from the millions raised by the John Kerry campaign, a Howard Dean online appeal and other donations.

Declining reimbursement — pegged at 25 cents a ballot — would help counties, many struggling financially, pay for the added cost of the recount.

Our state needs a governor to bring discipline and ideas to a tight state budget. The economy is still struggling. The governor and Legislature have much to do on transportation and education.

The state is divided by the technical and rhetorical wrangling in the closest governor’s race in state history. Both sides ought to take steps to bring closure and calm. A new election would do the opposite.