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Saturday, January 29, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Republicans say they've found 249 more felons who voted

Seattle Times chief political reporter

Republicans said yesterday they have found 249 more felons who voted in the November election.

That's nearly double the number state party officials had reported just two days earlier.

And Republicans expect the list to grow as they continue their investigation and build a case to have the gubernatorial election overturned and Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire removed from office.

Republicans backing their candidate, Dino Rossi, say they are confident ballots were cast by at least 489 felons whose rights to votes had not been restored by a court.

Of those, Party Chairman Chris Vance said yesterday, 424 are in King County and 14 in Pierce County.

A Seattle Times investigation published Sunday found 129 felons in King and Pierce counties who were recorded as having voted without having their voting rights restored. Another 23 were likely to have voted.

The newspaper looked at felony conviction records dating back to 1997. Republicans have a copy of the state's criminal-records database that includes more than 1 million felony convictions dating back as far as 1949, said Mike Sheridan, the party's political director who heads the effort to search for felon voters.

The party has a computer program that compares names and birth dates on the felony list with a list of voters from the Office of the Secretary of State.

In King County, party staff members then take any matches to either the King County Courthouse or the Regional Justice Center in Kent to review computerized case files to see if the felon's voting rights had been restored, Sheridan said.

For older cases, Republicans will search archived paper and microfiche files.

Counties where Republicans said they found felon voters are Benton, 7; King 424; Mason, 1; Pierce, 14; Snohomish, 19; Thurston, 17; and Yakima, 7.

King County Elections Director Dean Logan said yesterday that the county takes seriously allegations of illegal votes and encouraged anyone with information to send it to the county prosecutor.

David Postman: 360-943-9882 or dpostman@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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