Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Friday, December 3
The Washington Recount
The Seattle Times reports here that Republican gubenatorial candidate leads Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire by a razor-thin margin of 42 votes out of almost three million votes cast in the state. And you thought Florida's 2000 election was close. The margin narrowed from its previous 261 votes after the machine recounct mandated by state law. The Democrats have reportedly put up the $730,000 for a hand recount, and the Secretary of State is expected to order a recount on Monday.

The Washington election is clearly close enough to warrant a recount. What's not entirely clear, at least to me, is whether a hand recount will yield a more accurate result than the machine count. People make mistakes too, after all. On the other hand, it may be that a hand recount will allow the deciphering of valid votes under Washington's standard that couldn't be read during the machine count.

In any event, it looks like we won't have a clear winner in Washington until the end of this month at the earliest. But it's more important to get it done right -- or at least as right as possible -- than to get it done quickly.

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University