Secretary of state recall hearing moves to Superior Court - Judge will hear Reed case Friday




Olympia, WA - A petition to recall Secretary of State Sam Reed moves to a Thurston County courtroom Friday to determine whether the allegations against Reed are sufficient to let a campaign begin against him.

Activist Martin Ringhofer, who lists residences in Seattle and Soap Lake, filed the petitions against Reed. He says the Republican official failed to uphold duties of his office when he certified Democrat Christine Gregoire as governor in December.
Gregoire's 129-vote victory also is the subject of losing Republican candidate Dino Rossi's court contest of the results. The latter case goes to court in Wenatchee on Friday.

The Reed hearing is one of several unrelated cases scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham. It is the first step in what promises to be a convoluted process under state law.

Reed's office has denied the allegations against him, saying he has followed the law. Reed also says he is getting support around the state for his actions.

At issue in court is the proposed ballot synopsis that the Attorney General's Office prepared for the recall and the adequacy of the allegations under recall law. Ringhofer and supporters claim Reed committed misfeasance and malfeasance in office by certifying the election even though some felons illegally voted and elections officials were unable to identify as many named voters as they did ballots cast.

The complaint also accuses Reed of disenfranchising 300 military voters, allowing 55,000 King County ballots to be enhanced in ways that don't allow reviews and other missteps.

"The Superior Court shall consider only the sufficiency of the charges and not the truth of the charges," wrote assistant attorney general Brian Buchholz, who was assigned by Attorney General Rob McKenna to handle this portion of the case. "The voters consider the truth of the charges if the recall proceeds to the ballot."

A separate Attorney General lawyer -- assistant attorney general Jeff Even --actually is defending Reed.

Even and Buchholz say a wall has been erected between the two legal efforts.

Even, who also is representing the secretary of state in the Rossi election challenge, said Monday that he hadn't seen the court filing by Buchholz. Even also said he likely will ask the Thurston County court to delay the recall hearing because he needs to be in Chelan on the Rossi case on the same morning.

Because Ringhofer filed an amended version of his recall complaint, Buchholz is preparing a second ballot synopsis to file with the court. "At that point, it will be up to the court and the parties what to do with the two," Buchholz said.

Brad Shannon is political editor for The Olympian. He can be reached at 360-753-1688 or



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