Rules for a Recount

Those of you reading today’s story about the election results might be wondering what all the rules are for a recount. You’re thinking knowledge of this might come in handy at that next mixer, or when you have to talk when the band takes a break. This is information sure to impress would-be suitors. Well, it would have impressed me back when I was . . . suiting. Then again I was impressed by anyone who could find Russia on a map.

I can’t profess to give you all of them, but here are a few.

The standards for automatic recounts (Those the county or state pays for whether any candidate wants one or not. I say that because I’m sure there are some candidates who are relieved to lose, who love to give speeches and mix with the people, but don’t relish the idea of actually learning the finer details of accounting and fecal treatment for four years.) per RCW 29A.64.021 are they are done by machine if the two contenders are within a half percentage point of each other and within 2,000 votes.

In Kitsap County the Bremerton Transportation Proposition 1 (the car tabs initiative), the Bainbridge school bond and EMS levy, a few school board races, some unopposed candidates and the Port of Bremerton commissioner contest were the ones that beat the 2,000-vote margin. As of Monday, all were beating the half-percentage point standard.

For a hand recount the standard is that the contenders are within a quarter percentage point of each other and within 150 votes. In statewide races the rule is within 1,000 votes and that quarter percentage point.

Should a candidate want a recount even if the totals don’t call for an automatic one, they can pay for it themselves, but if the recount proves that the first or second count was wrong you and I pay for it when we order the biscuits and gravy at Pat’s or return that Valentine’s letter some of us get every year.

From RCW 29A.64.081

The canvassing board shall determine the expenses for conducting a recount of votes.

The cost of the recount shall be deducted from the amount deposited by the applicant for the recount at the time of filing the request for the recount, and the balance shall be returned to the applicant. If the costs of the recount exceed the deposit, the applicant shall pay the difference. No charges may be deducted by the canvassing board from the deposit for a recount if the recount changes the result of the nomination or election for which the recount was ordered.

In Kitsap County the deposit required is 15 cents a ballot for a manual recount and 25 cents each for a hand recount. For Bremerton City Councilman Brad Gehring, should he decide to ask for a recount in his council race against Jim McDonald it would be about $135 for a machine count and about $225 for a hand count.

Asked Monday if he would ask for a recount should the totals fall outside automatic recount range, Gehring said he would not. “I can’t afford to do that,” he said.

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