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In Wash. State, Democrat Takes Office Despite Suit

"I continue to ask where are the facts and where is an indication of any degree that someone did something that was fraud, illegal or improper, and I have yet to see any evidence whatsoever," she said.

She mentioned news reports about eight dead voters who somehow managed to cast votes, noting that at least one (with the help of a surviving spouse) went for Rossi.

Democrat Christine Gregoire, with her family, is sworn in as governor of Washington state at the Capitol in Olympia by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry L. Alexander. (Elaine Thompson -- AP)

There are going to be mistakes in any election, she said, "but I don't see any indication that the outcome of the election would have been changed."

Republicans could not disagree more.

"The evidence, taken together, is overwhelming," said Chris Vance, chairman of the state Republican Party.

In television, radio and billboard ads, Rossi backers have invoked patriotism and sympathy for troops in Iraq by asserting that absentee ballots were not sent out in time for many in the armed forces to vote. Parents of soldiers in Iraq have appeared with Rossi at news conferences to complain that Gregoire won because their sons could not vote in time.

But the issue of absentee ballots for the military is not at the heart of the legal case that the Republicans are making in court. Nor are the eight votes apparently cast by the dead.

Instead, party lawyers are focusing on a simple but potentially explosive election anomaly -- between 1,800 and 2,400 more votes were counted in the election than there were people credited in election lists as having voted.

"That is several times the margin of victory," Vance said.

County election officials -- along with Gregoire and Democratic Party officials -- say that these discrepancies are similar to those in past elections and are not the result of fraud but of human error when voters failed to sign poll books.

"They [Republicans] are going to have to show something other than innocent mistakes," Gregoire said.

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