It was a good day today in Washington State, where Chelan County Superior Court Judge Bridges was holding the latest hearing in the Washington State gubernatorial election challenge.
As many of you know, sore loser Dino Rossi is challenging the results of last November's election, which Governor Christine Gregoire won by 129 votes in the hand recount.
The GOP filed their lawsuit back in February. A trial is scheduled to begin later this month - around May 23rd.
Here's a summary of how the judge ruled on all the motions in today's hearing:
(continued below the jump)
Bridges said he would allow the GOP to make its "proportional analysis" (or speculative attribution) presentation to the court. He did not say that he would accept that argument. So that ruling is merely a preservation of the status quo.
Bridges this morning said he would allow Republicans to offer statistical analysis to show how illegal voters cast ballots in the November governor's election.
In Chelan County Superior Court, Bridges denied a Democratic Party motion to exclude the evidence, saying he did not see anything in law or court precedent that would prohibit the use of expert testimony to show how illegal votes were cast.
But Bridges said he was not yet accepting the statistical analysis as valid for the trial set to begin May 23. He said the Republican evidence is subject to a separate hearing where Democrats can challenge its scientific value.
Second: The GOP lost a crucial motion when the judge then ruled that he will allow the Democrats to present evidence of election errors that helped the GOP:
On another issue, Bridges sided with Democrats, saying he would allow them to introduce evidence of election errors that benefited Rossi. Republicans had made a motion to prohibit Democrats from introducing evidence of any of those "off-setting errors."
That is an important victory for the Democrats, since it allows them to counter the GOP's evidence at trial. If the judge ends up accepting "proportional analysis", then this ruling will come in very handy for us because we'll be able to counter the evidence they put forth.
Third: In another significant ruling, Bridges made it more difficult for the parties by ruling that alleged illegal votes must be proved as illegal (the Democratics had filed this motion as well):
In granting a Democratic motion, Bridges said that any party alleging illegal votes will have to produce in court a copy of the voter's signature in a polling place book or on the envelope of an absentee or provisional ballot.
Bridges said crediting is a "post-election administrative exercise" and "does not bear upon the authenticity of election results."
This only makes it harder to prove that felons actually voted. It also kills most of the GOP's "election mess" argument - the discrepancy between ballots counted and voters credited.
Fourth: The judge also granted yet another Democratic motion which defines the standards in the case:
Bridges said Republicans will have to present "clear and convincing" evidence that a felon voted, a higher standard than Republicans had hoped for.
Bridges also set out six standards, similar to what Democrats had proposed, that will have to be shown for the court to consider a vote illegally cast.
All in all, a very good day in court for Democrats. The trial is the next main event. We'll have coverage of that at both our blog and Pacific Northwest Portal.