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Washington State: the recount may not be the end of the election

The Tacoma News Tribune reports: Even if Republican Dino Rossi wins the hand recount of the state's extraordinary governor's race, a never-before-used provision in the state constitution could allow the Democrat-controlled Legislature to hand the election to Democrat Christine Gregoire.

Experts are unsure how to interpret the provision. But the state Democratic Party says it gives Democrats the ability to contest the results of the election before the Legislature.

The Legislature would hold a trial of sorts, like an impeachment hearing, with lawmakers voting on the final outcome, according to a Democratic Party lawyer.

That scenario would seem to favor Gregoire, because Democrats will hold a 26-23 advantage in the Senate and a 55-43 edge in the House when the Legislature convenes Jan. 10. -- TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA | Local


This is similar to a State Rep. election in Texas, but with the parties reversed.

Democrat Hubert Vo, a newcomer to politics, beat 22-year incumbent Republican Talmadge Heflin in a very close race for State Rep. Dist. 149. The closely watched initial count, certified by the Republican county clerk in Harris County, showed Vo the victor by 32 votes out of more than 20000. An even more closely watched recount increased Vo's victory to 33 votes.

The Texas Legislature has the power to decide a contested election. Heflin and his attorney appear prepared to contest the result. And the Texas Legislature is at present solidly Republican, though many members of the state House, including even the Speaker, appear not to want any part of this. I hope Democrats in Tacoma are similarly reluctant to overturn an apparently valid election.

(Full disclosure: I am a registered Democrat.)