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Rossi gains 4 in county

When the ballot counting machine stops, 10 pairs of eyes and ears pop up from behind a notepad or a cup of coffee.

Workers at Island County’s elections office began to count ballots on Monday in front of an audience of observers. It was standing room only, but the excitement present in other counties did not materialize.

“It’s boring, which is a good thing,” Island County Auditor Suzanne Sinclair said.

When the recount was completed Monday afternoon, Dino Rossi gained four more votes in Island County over Democrat Christine Gregoire. That’s a final, recounted tally of 19,997 for Rossi and 16,888 for Gregoire.

Five representatives were on hand to monitor the lead of the Governor-elect Rossi. Republican Rossi had a 261-vote lead over Gregoire before counting began across the state.

Kittitas County was the first to finish its recount, resulting in Rossi gaining one more vote. Rossi led in 31 of 39 counties when the certified results were certified last Wednesday.

By 11 a.m. Monday, Island County elections officials were approximately half way through the recount and the most exciting thing that had happened was that Elections Supervisor Loann Gulick stopped for a soda.

One vote here, one vote there switched hands, which did not bother Sinclair. In a 2000 recount between Slade Gordon and Maria Cantwell, one vote changed hands in Island County, she said.

Monday, Sinclair said the four-vote switch in the recount was not a problem since the votes were interspersed throughout the precincts.

Sheilah Crider was on hand representing the Island County Republican Party. She said she was there as an observer, but it was only a formality because of the prowess with which Island County runs its elections.

“You don’t see a lot of errors here,” Crider said.

The observers were there to look for irregularities in the results, rushing out on cell phones every time an update became available.

“They just want to know,” Island County Commissioner Bill Byrd said. “They try to know what’s happening and we try to explain what we’re doing.”

You can reach News-Times reporter Eric Berto at eberto@whidbeynewstimes.com

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