Editorial: County shows recount matters

Republican-leaning Island County surprisingly came with a net gain of four votes for Democrat Christine Gregoire in the hand recount for governor that wrapped up Monday in Coupeville.

While seemingly small, this change represents nearly one-tenth of the 42 votes statewide that separated Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi after the machine recount was completed in late November. Rossi was declared the winner after the initial recount, but the Democrats insisted on the hand recount as allowed by state law.

The hand recount change in Island County was surprising. Gregoire gained seven votes while Rossi gained three. Both parties had earlier lauded how the Auditor’s Office handled the initial ballot count plus the machine recount. Hardly anyone figured Gregoire could gain votes in a county that went heavily for Rossi on election day.

Auditor Suzanne Sinclair explained the additional votes for Gregoire by saying a handful of votes that hadn’t been counted the first two times had been discovered. Apparently, the voting machines passed them over for reasons unknown.

At the very least, the change shows that the hand recount wasn’t just the Democrats grasping at straws. More importantly, 10 voters whose votes would have been overlooked are now included in the total vote, thanks to the second recount.

The Democrats have taken some heat over insisting on the hand count, but what transpired in Island County has proved them right.

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