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Rossi attorney faults election

The system has ‘warts,’ Diane Tebelius tells Republican women.

The face of Washington’s governor would look a lot different if it weren’t for unsightly blemishes on the state’s electoral process, the lawyer for Republican candidate Dino Rossi said during a stop on the island Wednesday.

“There are many warts on the elections system,” attorney Diane Tebelius said of the election that put Democrat Christine Gregoire in the governor’s mansion and Rossi in the courthouse. “We have to excise these warts, we have to cut them out.

“Had the warts not been on the system, I’m confident (Rossi) would be the governor.”

Tebelius, who also serves as the state Republican committeewoman and recently ran for Congress, called for vigorous elections reforms while holding hope that the ballot-by-ballot battle would eventually put Rossi on top.

Despite a ruling Feb. 4 in Chelan County Superior Court that quashed Republican efforts for a revote, Tebelius claimed victory.

“The court ruled in our favor and we won on Friday,” she said to nearly 60 party supporters gathered at the Wing Point Golf and Country Club.

“The judge said we couldn’t have a revote, but we can have another election.”

The election could be declared null and void, she said, necessitating a new election, which could be held in November.

“We are going to get another election, one way or another,” she said.

In the meantime, Tebelius urged supporters to not lose faith in the elections process.

“I have to tell myself to remain calm, to take it easy,” she said. “Some day we’ll get to the bottom of this.”

Tebelius said enough errors in the election caused Rossi to lose the latest of two recounts by just 129 votes.

“It’s true that dead people came up from the grave and voted,” she said of evidence that some absentee ballots were sent in by family members after voters had died.

Tebelius also said elections officials must root out voters who voted twice or voted in two states.

“Those people need to be prosecuted,” she said.

Enough felons voted to sway the election as well, she said.

“A big problem is our felons,” she said. “They were sizable enough to have made a difference.

“We have a huge population of felons and it’s very possible your neighbor has a felony conviction,” she said, stressing that not all such convictions were for “horrendous” crimes.

Tebelius advocated creating a computer database to better track felons and eliminate their illegal votes. She suggested pollsters require a birth certificate or citizenship papers and receive better training in deciphering forged signatures.

These improvements would restore sagging voter confidence after November’s hotly contested election, she said.

“People need to have confidence in their system,” she said. “Once they start to not believe in it, it’s a detriment to everyone.

“Let’s clean it up and get on our way.”

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