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Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Judge dismisses bid to recall Reed over election certification

Seattle Times staff reporter

OLYMPIA — A Thurston County Superior Court judge yesterday rejected an attempt to recall Secretary of State Sam Reed.

Martin Ringhofer of Soap Lake, Grant County, and Linda Jordan of Seattle filed a petition recently seeking to recall Reed.

They argued in the petition that Reed committed "misfeasance or malfeasance" during the Nov. 2 election in part because he certified results for the governor's race even though it was an election "he knew was wrought with violations of election laws and regulations."

Jordan argued Reed should not have certified the results. "It is clear to us Mr. Reed knowingly failed to perform his duty," she said.

State law requires a court review to determine whether charges against an elected official are serious enough to warrant a recall effort. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Even said Reed would have had to do something "very, very wrong and do it knowingly" for the recall to move forward.

And Reed, Even said, did nothing wrong. "The Secretary of State had no choice ... but to do what he did," he said.

Judge Chris Wickham dismissed the case, saying that the charges against Reed, even if proven true, did not warrant a recall. "There is no showing of impropriety by the secretary of state," Wickham said.

Jordan said they plan to appeal the case. If they do, the appeal would automatically go to the state Supreme Court.

Jordan said Wickham's reasons for dismissing the petition "sound very illogical to me."

If the court had approved the petition, Ringhofer and Jordan would have had to collect more than 600,000 valid signatures to force a vote on Reed's election.

Andrew Garber: 360-943-9882 or agarber@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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