Anne Martens writes on the Blue Oregon website: I'm fascinated by the Washington Governor's trial (Borders v. King County), and enthralled by the evidence being offered. This is far better drama than any pedophilic pop star, and, more importantly, it's another step in the transfer of power over elections from the people to the bench.
Essentially, the Democrats are arguing that there is no such thing as a perfect election, mistakes will always and everywhere happen, but don't topple the mechanics of democracy over a few inadvertent mishaps. The Republicans have had to scuttle their "mistakes equal fraud" argument (the judge just wasn't buying that given the absence of any malicious intent) and are now arguing that "mistakes (at least the ones that favor Gregoire) are really, really bad and something ought to be done about it."
Of course both sides are right, and while nobody paid any attention to these issues until 2000, they now lead to what may be a landmark lawsuit. The mistakes were these: some felons voted, some dead people voted, some people voted but didn't sign the poll book, some ballots were misplaced, and some provisional ballots were counted when they shouldn't have been. The standard is whether these mistakes changed the outcome of the election.
For all you evidence-heads (is there such a thing?), remember good old rule 702, Frye and the two-part test, Daubert and the four-part test, and the purpose of those tests being to keep crap out of the courtroom? No? Well, nevermind, doesn't matter. As quoted by the Seattle Times, Judge Bridges said, "I can imagine how frustrated counsel has been with the court because you don't know me and you come to this court and I start making rulings which I'm sure some of you think are just not supported by any rules of evidence you've ever read." ...
Forget one-person-one-vote and majority rules, here the judges' evaluation of the admissibility of scientific evidence will determine the outcome. So if all the statistical assumptions get junked, what do we have? Governor Gregoire, a potential consolation prize of Cantwell's seat for Rossi, loss of public confidence in elections, a growing body of scholarly research on elections statistics, scrutiny and revision of the conduct of elections, and the assurance of future lawsuits. And if the court decides that statistics account for votes, what do we have? A rematch, new standards for evidence, loss of public confidence in elections, a growing body of scholarly research on elections statistics, scrutiny and revision of the conduct of elections, and the assurance of future lawsuits. -- BlueOregon: Defensive Democracy
Thanks to Peter Nordberg and his great Blog 702 for the link.