This Washington

Record Turnout. Recounts in a few Races.

By Josh Feit November 23, 2010

Today, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed reported turnout in this November's election at 71.18 percent —2.56 million out of 3.6 million registered voters cast ballots.

In a statement, Reed notes:
At this hour, with the final count close to complete in most counties, we are at 2.56 million ballots counted, out of 3.6 million registered voters, or 71.18 percent. That is the best showing in decades for a midterm election, and eclipses the 71.15 percent in 1958.  It does not appear we will surpass the 71.85 percent mark of 1970.  Turnout was 64.55 in the last midterm election, four years ago, and 56.35 percent in 2002.

In King County, turnout was 71.65 percent—766,000 out of 1 million registered voters. Here's a list of county by county turnout.

There will be three recounts in state legislative races: Hans Zeiger vs. incumbent Rep. Dawn Morrell (D-25, Puyallup, Summit, Fife), where Zeiger, a controversial arch-conservative, is up by 47 votes over Morrell, the Democrats' caucus chair; Steve Litzow vs. Sen. Randy Gordon (D-41, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Issaquah and Renton), where pro-choice Republican Litzow is up by 194 votes over liberal Gordon; and Vincent Buys vs. Rep. Kelli Linville (D-42, Western Whatcom County). Buys, a Toastmasters conservative who's involved in Haitian relief efforts, is beating Linville, the House Ways and Means Chair, by 154 votes.

Recounts are triggered if the difference between the two candidates is smaller than one half of one percent of the vote and closer than 2,000 votes, according to the Secretary of State's office.

If Gordon wins, the Democrats will have a 28 to 21 advantage in the state senate. If Litzow holds on, the Democrats' majority will fall to 27-22. (Last session, the Dems had a 31-18 advantage.)

Last session, the Democrats had 61-37 advantage. If Zeiger and Buys hold on as winners, the Democrats' majority would fall to 56-42.

State Rep. Dawn Morrell (D-25)

The Morrell/Zeiger race will will be a hand recount 29. Hand recounts offer more hope for come-from-behind victories because there are more opportunities to add ballots—ballots, say, where the voters circled their choice rather than fill in the circle.

The Buys/Linville race is on the cusp of going into hand recount territory, but is still slated for a machine recount. The Gordon/Litzow race will be a machine recount.

Hand recounts are triggered at 2.5 percent of the total vote as opposed to the .5 percent for a machine recount.
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