Since just about everyone – except for Ted Kennedy and the other terrorists – is thrilled with the Iraqi election, let’s talk about a different one. The latest court hearing regarding Washington State’s gubernatorial race between Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Christine Gregoire is scheduled for today.

Gregoire was inaugurated on Jan. 12 under a dark cloud of suspicion. The initial vote total gave Rossi the election by 261 votes. The machine recount that followed still showed Rossi ahead, this time by just 42 votes.

During this machine recount, Gregoire received a net boost of 245 votes from Seattle’s King County, while the number of votes gained by either side in the entire rest of the state was only 208.

I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for the comparatively huge number. Perhaps the vote counters in Seattle were jittery from having one too many cappuccinos at their locally-headquartered “Fourbucks.”

Because the Democrats were so close to stealing this election, they paid for a third recount, to be conducted by hand. By this point, mystery votes began showing up all over King County. They turned up in a warehouse and voting machines, while other ballots were “enhanced” and incorrectly run through voting machines. Perhaps the most disturbing statistic, however, is that some precincts had more votes cast than registered voters, tallying 2,900 “bonus” votes.

In addition to these discrepancies, Republican leaders in the Evergreen State had verified 737 illegal votes as of last Wednesday, and found 249 additional felons that had voted, according to the Seattle Times. The GOP breakdown of illegal votes now stands at 489 felons, 44 deceased, 26 duplicates and 437 illegal provisional ballots.

These numbers are clearly indicative of voter fraud and election tampering, totaling well over the 129-vote lead that the Democrats cling to.

A revote is clearly needed, and Rossi and the state GOP should have no problem convincing the courts to “pull a Ukraine.” The citizens of Washington are already convinced. A poll from KHQ-TV in Spokane found that 62 percent of respondents support a new election.

What’s troubling about this election – besides the voter fraud – is that the left’s typical outrage about elections and alleged voter fraud is nowhere to be found. Where are Jimmy Carter and Barbara Boxer? Do they think that only Republicans can be accused of voter fraud and as long as a Democrat wins everything is just . peachy?

But the Jan. 31 issue of Newsweek – with its cover devoted to an incredibly hard-hitting news story about an “Oscar Roundtable” – actually did print an article about Washington state politics. Unfortunately, the story has just two sentences devoted to the election controversy.

The piece, which covers the success of women politicians in Washington, is fine, but wouldn’t a story about, say, an election still being contested after three months be a little timelier? The article includes a picture of Gregoire with Sen. Party Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell, and its caption begins, “Governor Gregoire celebrates .” Unless she’s celebrating voter fraud, the festivities might be a little premature considering the likely revote.

It’s no surprise that liberals only care about voter fraud in elections they’ve obviously lost. States must send a clear message to citizens who would attempt to defraud democracy. Penalties for tampering with elections should be severely increased, with felony charges pursued for almost all violations.

Voter fraud is perhaps the worst crime that can be committed against our country short of treason. Liberals should be ashamed at their double standards when it comes to speaking out against it, and union bosses and corrupt election workers in big cities need to start facing serious consequences for attempting to rig another election.

The fraud bunch will not be successful in Washington if the courts do the right thing by ordering a new election. Stricter punishments should ensure that no one succeeds at shifting or rigging an election again.

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