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Local elections officials prepare for tedious re-recount

By Hilary Maynard

Staff Writer

Monday will forever be a historical day for the state of Washington, as Secretary of State Sam Reed ordered a third counting of gubernatorial votes cast throughout the state’s 39 counties, including Kitsap.

The unprecedented manual recount, set to take place in the weeks leading up until the Christmas holiday, could give Democrat Christine Gregoire a much-appreciated Christmas gift.

Gregoire lost the original recount to Republican Governor-elect Dino Rossi by 42 votes after almost three million ballots were cast.

The state Democratic party ordered the the controversial recount Friday to the tune of over $750,000 and ballots are expected to start being counted today or tomorrow.

The Kitsap County Elections Department will soon begin to count 119,459 ballots in 185 precincts by hand. In the 2000 general election, Democrat Gary Locke beat Republican John Carlson by 16,245 in Kitsap County.

Port Orchard is home to seven voting precincts, three of which have 25 or fewer registered voters and are consolidated with other such precincts in the County. In the four larger precincts, the original recount showed 1,361 voted for Gregoire, while 1,439 voted for Rossi.

Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn said the hand recount will begin today and that she expects the results soon.

“We’re hoping we can complete (Kitsap County’s recount) in a two-day period,” Flynn said.

According to Flynn, the ballots will be sorted by precinct today and counters will be divided into teams of three.

“The recount occurs in a very orderly fashion,” said Flynn, who has experience in county-wide recounts. “Factions of ballots are counted by individual teams.”

Flynn said she has asked both the Democratic and Republican parties to each supply an individual for each team. The third member of the team will be a person responsible for tallying the votes.

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