Cantwell-Gorton recount could take about a week

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — The bad news is, there is going to be a recount in Washington state.

The good news is, we’re not Florida.

Secretary of State Ralph Munro said he plans on Monday to order a recount in the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Maria Cantwell and Republican Sen. Slade Gorton. The close races for secretary of state and two state House seats in the 47th District will also require recounts.

The recount should take about a week, said state elections director Gary McIntosh. County canvassing boards will administer the recount, which simply entails running the ballots through the counting machines again.

Washington’s recount won’t be like the one in Florida, where debates are raging about dangling chads and dimpled ballots. No new ballots will be added during the recount and none will be thrown out — they’ll just be counted again, Munro emphasized.

"We do a preinspection of ballots," he said. "We don’t have hanging chad or anything. That was taken care of before the count."

State law requires a machine recount in any race where the margin of victory is less than half of 1 percent of the votes cast.

Cantwell and Gorton aren’t the only ones on the borderline. Republican Sam Reed won the race for secretary of state against Democrat Don Bonker by .46 percent of the vote. (Munro is retiring this year after 20 years in office.)

And both state House races in the 47th District hinged on less than .3 percent of the vote, so Republican Jack Cairnes and Democrat Geoff Simpson will have to wait for recount results before they can safely say they’ve won their respective seats.

Munro emphasized that past recounts have affirmed, not reversed, initial vote tallies.

The most recent mandatory recount was in 1996, in the 3rd Congressional District. Republican Linda Smith initially beat Democrat Brian Baird by 890 votes. The recount gave both a few more votes, and Smith’s margin of victory was 887.

The recount for the Cantwell-Gorton race would be the first recount for a statewide office since 1968, when Gorton defeated Democrat John McCutcheon by 5,368 votes in the race for attorney general.

The recounts have to be finished by Dec. 7, the date by which state law says the secretary of state must certify the election results.

A hand recount would be mandatory when the difference is less than 150 votes in races with more than 60,000 votes. In races with fewer than 60,000 total votes, a hand recount is triggered by a margin of less than a quarter of 1 percent.

If a hand recount is needed or requested, Munro said the counties may be pushing the deadline.

"I don’t want to get into what-ifs," Munro said.

Candidates and parties can call for additional recounts, although state law prohibits counting the ballots more than twice. Whoever requests the recount must pay for it, at five cents a ballot. However, if the recount reverses the results — which hasn’t happened in recent memory — they don’t have to pay.

Overall, Munro said, he expects a more orderly recount process than the one in the Sunshine State.

"It’s not very exciting," he said Wednesday. "It’s kind of like watching grass grow."

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Performers joust during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Sky Meadows Park in Snohomish, Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 06, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Royalty and revelry: The spirit of the Renaissance comes to Monroe

The annual Renaissance fair will open its doors every weekend from July 20 to Aug. 18

Trees and foliage grow at the Rockport State Park on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Rockport, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
When you get lost in WA, what’s the cost to get rescued? Surprisingly little

Washington’s volunteer search and rescue teams save lives without costly bills.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.