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County's manual recount starts Thursday

YAKIMA - The manual, or hand, recount for the position of governor will be conducted in Yakima County on Thursday, Dec. 9.

Yesterday (Monday), Secretary of State Sam Reed issued a statewide manual recount order in the governor's race between Democrat Christine Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi. The state's Democratic party, which delivered a check totaling $730,000 to Reed last Friday, is funding the recount. In the last official machine count, Rossi defeated Gregoire by 42 votes from more than 2 million cast statewide.

Yakima County's actual recount process will begin at 9 a.m. this Thursday at the Yakima County Restitution Center (2403 S. 18th St.) in Union Gap. The Yakima County Canvassing Board will be convening the same day at 9 a.m. and again at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., if necessary, to deal with matters pertaining to the manual recount.

The canvassing board is also scheduled to meet Monday, Dec. 13, to certify the results of the manual recount.

Reed doesn't expect complete statewide results from the manual recount to be in until almost Christmas. Based on what has already transpired, the results could be delayed even further.

That's because a lawsuit has been filed by Washington Democrats to change the statewide rules for what ballots should be included in the upcoming hand recount. The lawsuit also seeks to throw out bi-partisan ballot counting rules adopted by King County. King County is preparing to hire 80 Democrats and 80 Republicans for a bi-partisan operation of the ballot counting in that county.

The state's Republican leadership is not happy that efforts are underway to change King County's ballot counting process.

"King County is doing the right thing by including Democrats and Republicans in the counting process," said State GOP Chair Chris Vance. "I am amazed that Christine Gregoire has the gall to challenge this plan at the State Supreme Court.

"Democrats keep trying to change the rules so they can overturn the will of Washington voters," Vance added.

Rossi's communications director, Mary Lane, said his camp is asking that the recount be done by the rules.

"Christine Gregoire has filed a lawsuit to try to change the recount rules midway through the process," said Lane. "It seems Gregoire is willing to do anything to try to change the rules until she gets a result she likes.

"Dino doesn't oppose a statewide hand recount, as long as it is done fairly and legitimately.

"It's interesting that Christine Gregoire never had a problem with our state's recount rules until she lost the election," Lane continued. "Now she's brought in an army of lawyers to try to manipulate the system. That's wrong, and the people of Washington deserve a recount that follows the rules.

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