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County prepared for hand recount

PORT ORCHARD — The hairsbreadth governor’s race may require another recount — or two — before the winner assumes the office. Even so, Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn is prepared for whatever the situation may require.

The first county recount results as certified Nov. 24 showed 57,693 votes for Republican Dino Rossi and 56,164 for Democrat Christine Gregoire.

This represented a net gain for Gregoire of 34 votes, but did not change the fact that Rossi carried the county.

Additionally, 3,090 Kitsap County voters showed a preference for Libertarian candidate Ruth Bennett.

Flynn expects either Gregoire or an independent citizens group will request a hand recount, which could be statewide.

Whoever requests a recount must submit a deposit of 25 cents per vote, or approximately $750,000 for the entire state. By this measure, it costs almost $30,000 for a Kitsap County recount. To save money, the recount requestors may focus on areas of the state with narrow voter margins.

If results are unchanged, the state keeps the deposit and uses it to defray the cost of the recount. If results change, the deposit is returned and the recount continues at state expense.

Flynn said the actual hand recounting would take about two days, along with about three days of preparation to properly sort the ballots for re-examination.

She said she will order the preparation as soon as word of the recount arrives, which can precede the official orders to commence the action.

Rossi leads the statewide vote count by 42 votes, 1,372,484 to Gregoire’s 1,372,442, down from the 261 votes after the first tally.

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