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Edward B. Foley
Free & Fair is a collection of writings by Edward B. Foley, one of the nation's preeminent experts on election law.

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WA-8: Ballot Count Continues

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November 13, 2006

Having counted approximately 193,000 votes in Washington’s 8th District, it is being reported that, as of Saturday, November 11, Republican Dave Reichert is leading Democratic candidate Darcy Burner by 3,514 votes. The “historically slow-counting suburban Seattle district” continues to count ballots, primarily consisting of absentee ballots. Contributing to the delayed count is the fact that two polling places in the area were forced to relocate after being flooded.

An array of problems” with the delivery of absentee ballots, about 100 bags containing up to 20,000 absentee ballots, is also being reported, delaying the election results. Among these reported problems are broken zippers and unclosed seals on the bags used to deliver these absentee ballots. King County’s interim election official stated that he will recommend the ballots be accepted and opened for verification and processing as he is confident that poll workers had maintained proper control of the questioned bags throughout the process, preventing the addition of any late votes.

Counting of votes is to continue today, November 13, 2006. Until ballots are completely counted, expected to be later this week, Burner’s campaign is refraining from commenting on the current lead. If, when the ballot counting is concluded, less than 2,000 votes and half a percentage point separate the candidates, a recount will be performed automatically; otherwise, a candidate would have to pay for or pursue a recount through the court.