Election 2011: Four Races Must be Recounted; Thousands of Ballots Tossed, 500,000 Not Cast

8,000 failed the penmanship test.
Four county races face mandatory recounts today because of close votes in the November 8 election. And while there's no way to tell how a more robust turnout and voter accuracy might have affected those outcomes, 500,000 county voters didn't bother to return their ballots and more than 15,000 sent in votes that couldn't be verified, King County Elections reports.

In other words, every vote counts, but not every vote gets counted, or cast - as usual.

Elections Director Sherril Huff yesterday said she is "pleased to report that the election was certified today with all ballots accounted for."

But half of them were accounted for by having disappeared.

Of the 1,081,888 ballots sent to the county's registered voters, half a million weren't returned. Good citizens who took the the time to register didn't take the time to vote.

Of the more than 580,000 ballots that were sent in, more than 8,000 were invalidated due to signature problems while over 7,000 of the mail-in ballots arrived too late to be counted.

Of the four still-undecided contests, one requires a machine recount, Elections spokesperson Stephanie Schwenger reports. In that contest - for a Des Moines City Council spot - 31 votes separate Rebecca King and Bob Sheckler.

Three other races will require hand recounts.

In a Bellevue City Council race, Aaron Laing and John Stokes are 51 votes apart. Just nine votes separate Dan L. Peterson and Tina McGann in an Enumclaw School District contest, while there's a mere six-vote difference in the Public Hospital District 4 commissioner race between Gene Pollard and Karyn Denton.

The recounts begin December 8 and will be completed within eight days. Kudos to those who promptly, correctly and faithfully sent in ballots. Their votes count...twice.

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