Mallahan is up with a total of 81,725 votes counted thus far in Seattle. King County elections is predicting 35 percent turnout for Seattle, which would mean an additional 51,000 votes have yet to be counted. Here's where the three front-runners stand as of 4:10 p.m.:
Mallahan takes the lead, more counting to come.
Joe Mallahan, 21101, 26.76 percent
Mike McGinn, 20880, 26.48 percent
Greg Nickels, 19864, 25.19 percent
The spread between Nickels and the rest of the candidates is growing; it's up from 970 last night to 1,237 now, with Nickels sitting 1,016 ballots shy of second place. Why that matters more than anything is how it effects Nickels' chances of getting an automatic recount of the vote.
King County Elections spokesperson Kim van Ekstrom explains that if the spread stays within 2,000 and votes and less than one-half of one percent of all votes cast, her department will automatically run a machine recount. So say 100,000 people vote in Seattle; a recount would be triggered if the separation between two candidates for the general was less than 500 votes. Ekstrom adds that If the final spread is 150 votes or fewer and less than one-fourth of one percent of all votes cast, County Elections will automatically do a hand recount.
The candidates can also request a recount if the final tally isn't that tight. If the outcome doesn't change, the candidate has to pay for it, van Ekstrom says.
In addition to the votes counted today, van Ekstrom says about 70,000 votes from around the county arrived in her offices today, most of which won't be processed even in time for the 4:30 update tomorrow. "And we know that tomorrow could be a pretty big mail drop as well," she says.