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King County identifies previously uncounted ballots

Press Release   King County Elections   13 December 2004

King County Elections Director Dean Logan will ask the Canvass Board on Wednesday to amend the certified results of the November 2, 2004 General Election to include a series of absentee ballots wrongly rejected during the original canvas.

Approximately 561 absentee ballots were mistakenly rejected because the signature on the ballot did not match the original voter registration records. In fact, these were signed ballots where a signature was not on file in the county's voter registration system. Original registration records should have been retrieved to verify the ballot signatures.

"From the very first ballot counted, I have maintained that every ballot of every valid voter should be counted. In the case of these ballots, the mistake was on our part in not finding signatures of what appear to be eligible voters. We take full responsibility," said Logan. "An error has been made that has prevented valid ballots from being counted. We need to correct the error and count those votes."

Election officials became aware of the situation Sunday evening and have worked since to identify the ballots and ensure they are secured and available for canvass board review.

Logan said staff will retrieve the ballots, review past registration records for signature comparisons and present all valid ballots to the canvassing board on Wednesday, December 15. Logan said state law specifically authorizes the canvass board to amend the certification of an election when a discrepancy or inconsistency is identified in the original canvas.

Until the canvass board takes formal action on the ballots and the votes are counted, it is unclear the impact these ballots may have on the pending manual recount "What is clear," said Logan "is our obligation to ensure these voters that their votes are counted."

More than 898,000 King County voters cast ballots in the November 2 General Election. The county is currently hand-counting votes cast for Governor following a mandatory machine recount conducted last month. That recount is still on schedule to be completed by December 22.

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