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Tuesday, November 16, 2004  

Politics: Washington gov's race still undecided

I've been following the showdown for the governorship of Washington. The latest twist is a lawsuit by disgruntled Republicans. Democrats won the right to contact provisional voters by phone last week. Provisional ballots often haven't been signed, or the person may need to update residency information. If there is a problem and the voter is not heard from, his ballot is ignored. The GOP is perturbed because Democrats can make their votes count by correcting the problems.

KGW-TV has been covering the conflict.

A judge ruled Tuesday that King County should continue counting provisional ballots, despite protests from Republicans.

Superior Court Judge Dean Lum refused to grant a temporary restraining order against the state's largest county, a stronghold of support for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire.

The ruling affects less than 1,000 ballots, but the governor's race is so close that those ballots could make a huge difference. On Tuesday afternoon, Republican Dino Rossi led Gregoire by 236 votes, out of 2.8 million ballots cast.

But, that's not all. A recount in a populous county is expected to increase the number of votes for Gregoire. The Seattle Post Intelligencer has the details.

MONTESANO, Wash. -- Grays Harbor County will have to re-count all of its ballots because of a problem with a computer reporting system, The Daily World of Aberdeen reported Tuesday.

County Auditor Vern Spatz said the re-count will likely add to Democrat Christine Gregoire's total votes for governor.

Statewide, at last count, Gregoire was 158 votes ahead of Republican Dino Rossi, out of 2.8 million ballots cast. The deadline for counties to finish tallying ballots is Wednesday.

"We do not have to rescan them, we could just rerun the report, but we don't want to have anybody have any doubts about this election," Spatz said. "We're going to take the time and effort to rescan every ballot in our office and generate new totals. It takes away any question."

Rossi's earlier lead of between 2000-3000 votes evaporated soon after vote counting resumed after the Veterans Day holiday. Some sources now say Gregoire is ahead. With hundreds more votes to count, it is unclear which candidate will prevail. The law requires the state to certify a winner tomorrow. I am not going to try to guess the outcome.

What's the art?

A temporary site where voters could submit their ballots in Pierce County, Washington. Most Washingtonians vote by mail.

6:45 PM