Who Really Won?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Meanwhile, In Washington (State)

Democrat May Be Leading in Wash. Race

Through all the counting and recounting in the closest governor's race in state history, Republican Dino Rossi has held the slimmest of margins over Democrat Christine Gregoire - even picking up a few votes here and there as a tedious hand recount grinds on.

For the first time since the Nov. 2 election, it looks as though the tide could be turning.

Election officials in the Democratic stronghold of King County announced Monday that they would count more than 500 ballots that were mistakenly rejected after the election - possibly enough to swing the election to Gregoire.

Rossi won the Nov. 2 election by 261 votes, but saw that margin shrink to 42 votes after a machine recount of all 2.9 million ballots cast. As of Monday night, with 24 of the state's 39 counties completing their hand recounts, Rossi had gained 46 votes.

But King County Elections Director Dean Logan said an error had "prevented valid ballots from being counted" in the heavily Democratic county that includes Seattle. Gregoire won about 58 percent of the vote there.

Logan said workers did not count 561 absentee ballots because the signatures on them did not match computerized voter registration records. But he discovered Sunday that the signatures simply were not on file in the county's computer system.