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Officials hope vote count is over here

Is the race for Washington State governor over, or will officials in Island County have to start re-examining ballots that were previously thrown out?

The answer to that question was unclear Thursday, when just 10 votes out of approximately 3 million cast statewide separated the two candidates for governor.

Wednesday brought the unofficial tally of King County’s ballots and a Supreme Court decision that could result in counties having to recanvass ballots already determined to be ineligible.

Island County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks, who is represented in Island County’s canvassing board, said that since the results have been certified in every county except King, that will likely prevent those counties from recanvassing the ballots.

“I think we’ve complied with the state,” Banks said. “We’ve recanvassed, recounted and recertified.”

King County was expected to certify its count late Thursday.

The Supreme Court decision applies to ballots that had signatures that were determined to not match those on file.

In Island County, the Canvassing Board, which is a three-member board that oversees elections results, threw out 255 ballots for various reasons. Of those, 39 absentee ballots were discarded because the voters did not sign the ballots, which means elections officials had no signature to compare them with.

“They were all sent letters and given the opportunity to respond,” Voter Registration Deputy Michele Reagan said.

The county received other ballots without signatures, but the voters sent in signed voter oaths, Reagan said.

“The ballots that were rejected by Island County were a pretty cut and dry thing,” Island County Auditor Suzanne Sinclair said. “I don’t recall anybody whose ballots were rejected because of non-matched signatures. I don’t know how you can recanvass a missing signature or a late post mark — those are pretty cut and dry.”

Banks said that he does not expect a clear solution soon.

“I suppose the remedies are limited only by the creativity of the lawyers involved,” Banks said.

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