Machine recount set for December in Issaquah legislative race

November 24, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11:55 a.m. Nov. 24, 2010

The last undecided race to represent Issaquah in Olympia is headed for a recount next month.

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 — or 0.32 percent — 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.

The machine recount is scheduled to start Dec. 1.

Turnout reached 71.6 percent in the Nov. 2 election. King County Elections certified the election results Wednesday.

The elections office predicted 68 percent turnout before the election.

King County received and processed 786,461 ballots — a record number since the county switched to the all-mail voting in February 2009. Officials could not count almost 20,000 ballots, because the ballots arrived too late or the voter did not remedy a signature problem.

The county had to delay certification due to inclement weather and hazardous road conditions.

King County Canvassing Board members met Monday 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 met at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at election headquarters to sign off on the election results.

The board had been expected to order a recount in the 41st District race.

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.

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