Inclement weather delays King County election certification
November 23, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 12:55 p.m. Nov. 23, 2010
The results of the Nov. 2 election must remain unofficial for a bit longer, on account of the inclement weather.
King County Canvassing Board members met afternoon to complete the canvassing process. Members had been scheduled to meet Tuesday to certify the election results, but icy conditions prompted county leaders to close many offices, including King County Elections.
The county Canvassing Board is due to meet 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at election headquarters to sign off on the election results.
The board could order a recount in the last undecided Issaquah legislative race.
State Sen. Randy Gordon trailed challenger Steve Litzow by more than 1,000 votes in the days after the Nov. 2 election. The gap between Democrat Gordon and Republican Litzow narrowed to 194 votes as the county tallied ballots.
Under state law, a machine recount is required if the difference between the candidates is less than 2,000 votes and also less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for both candidates.
King County Elections tallied 63,361 ballots in the race. The margin to trigger a machine recount in the race is about 315 votes.
King County Council members appointed Bellevue attorney Gordon to the seat in January after then-Sen. Fred Jarrett resigned to serve as deputy King County executive. Litzow serves as a Mercer Island city councilman.
The contest is to fill Jarrett’s unexpired term. The eventual victor faces voters again in 2012.
Gordon and Litzow hope to represent the 41st Legislative District. The district includes Talus and other Cougar Mountain communities in Issaquah, plus Newcastle and rural King County.
Midterm election turnout beats expectations
Secretary of State Sam Reed praised the robust statewide turnout — the highest in a midterm election in four decades.
Elections offices in the 39 counties counted 2.56 million ballots out of 3.6 million registered voters — or 71.18 percent. Reed had predicted 66 percent turnout before the election.
The record for a midterm election is the 71.85 percent mark set in 1970. Turnout reached 64.55 in the last midterm election four years ago, and 56.35 percent in 2002.
King County turnout exceeded pre-election estimates to reach 71.65 percent — or 766,477 ballots.
“Our voters were clearly enthused and engaged by this midterm election, and that makes election officials very, very happy,” Reed said in a statement.
Reed and Gov. Chris Gregoire certify the state returns Dec. 2 at the Capitol.
“This turned out to be a ‘wave’ election nationally and both parties really contested Washington, both for the Senate and House seats and for legislative races,” Reed said.
Despite the national GOP tide, the election left Issaquah’s delegation in Olympia unchanged for the most part.
“We saw some huge budgets for advertising and many outside independent groups played in Washington, further raising the profile and visibility of our election,” Reed said. “We also saw some of the best vigorous use of the initiative process in our state’s history, and record spending, and that engaged a lot of people, pro and con.”