Down to the wire in King County


The Mirror

King County appeared this week to be the finish line in the race for governor of Washington. Then again, the courts might be holding the checkered flag.

After leading at the end of election day Nov. 2 and following a first recount, Republican Dino Rossi fell behind Democrat Christine Gregoire by 10 votes as most of a second statewide recount concluded Wednesday.

Almost simultaneously, the state Supreme Court ruled that 735 controversial and previously uncounted ballots in King County can be included in the recount. That put the final outcome further in doubt, although it’s widely believed that a majority of the ballots favor Gregoire in the county where voters heavily supported her.

More drama likely is in store. County election officials planned to meet Thursday to decide how to proceed with the uncounted ballots, but the state Republican Party –– loser in the Supreme Court ruling –– was expected to continue its legal maneuvering in an attempt to keep the votes from being counted.

Party leaders contended that counties can’t include previously disqualified ballots in recounts. The justices in the state’s highest court rejected that argument, however, in an appeal by the Democratic Party.

The justices also stated election results can be contested in court.

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