OLYMPIA — Secretary of State Sam Reed filed court papers this week siding with Republicans on key legal issues in the lawsuit over the governor's election, saying, for example, that the dispute should stay in the courts and not move to the Legislature as Democrats want.
Reed said that in court, the Republicans' effort to have Gov. Christine Gregoire removed from office and to force a new election can be decided in "a prompt, orderly, and non-partisan manner."
Reed is a Republican and the state's chief election official. In the nearly three months of legal wrangling over the Nov. 2 election, he has sided at various times with Democrats or Republicans. His apparent nonpartisan approach has angered some Republicans who thought he should aggressively fight for Dino Rossi.
The next hearing in the case will be in Wenatchee on Feb. 4. Republicans named Reed, all 39 counties and their auditors in the suit. Several of those counties have asked that the case be dismissed, saying Republicans have made no substantive allegations of wrongdoing.
Here's a post from the Corner on what options the judge in the case will have:
...Washington State law specifically provides for any candidate or citizen to file an election contest here in Washington state. The minimal threshold for a judge to uphold the contest is to prove more illegal votes than the margin of difference. The judge has four courses of action: 1) void a recount and revert to the previous count ( two recounts are allowed and the one being contested can be voided ), 2.) give the issue to the legislature for resolution; 3.) nothing if he finds insufficient grounds; or 4.) order a new election.
This case will certainly wend its way to the Washington Supreme Court and likely to the US Supreme Court. Time, though is not on Rossi's side. While he has the sympathies of Washington voters at the moment there is risk that they will tire of the issue. What Rossi needs is a quick win. That means either options 1 or 3 listed above- voiding the last recount or ordering a new election. Either would put Gregoire back on the defensive to reverse on appeal.