Republican who lost Senate race is seeking a partial recount

Roulstone said he is doing it to test the county’s new ballot-counting system, not change the results.

EVERETT — Election workers will recount a batch of ballots in a state Senate race in Snohomish County next week even though the person requesting it knows there’s no chance the result will change.

The Snohomish County Canvassing Board will meet at 8 a.m Tuesday to authorize the partial recount in the 44th Legislative District, which encompasses the cities of Lake Stevens, Snohomish, and Mill Creek and parts of Everett and Marysville.

Election officials said it will cover 2,374 ballots cast in seven precincts located in Lake Stevens, Marysville and Mill Creek.

The canvassing board is slated to meet again Dec. 7 to review any questioned ballots from the recount and to certify the results.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, won a fourth term in the Nov. 6 election, beating Republican Doug Roulstone of Snohomish by a margin of 56.1 percent to 43.9 percent.

Roulstone is the one seeking the recount. He requested it be done in only a handful of randomly selected precincts and said he doesn’t suspect any mistakes were made nor does he think it will lead to a different outcome.

Roulstone said the county made some changes this election cycle and he wants to be certain everything worked as expected. “Trust but verify,” he said, invoking a line made famous by President Ronald Reagan.

Snohomish County switched to a system known as Clearvote. Ballots got a new look with voters making their choices by filling in ovals instead of drawing lines to their choices. Another change involved the use of a sleeve to ensure ballot secrecy, instead of a sealed envelope.

“It is a new calibration system,” Roulstone said. “I just want to validate the system.”

Turnout in this year’s election was 70.6 percent, the third highest rate ever for a midterm in the county. In all, 325,869 people cast ballots.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald Twitter: @dospueblos.

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