OKANOGAN — With Okanogan County Commissioner Bud Hover only eight votes behind challenger Ray Campbell after the latest tally, election officials are planning a hand recount of more than 17,000 ballots.
“The law says this is the way it is,” Okanogan County deputy auditor Mila Jury said Monday. Any election outcome that’s less than one-quarter of one percent and less than 150 votes difference means that auditors must recount all of the ballots cast in that election by hand, she said.
It’s an automatic recount by machine if the difference is less than one-half of one percent, and less than 2,000 votes difference, she said.
After Friday’s count, Campbell has 7,184 votes or 49.51 percent of the vote to Hover’s 7,176 votes or 49.45 percent. Both are Republicans. Write-in candidates received 151 votes.
Jury said some additional ballots that have not been counted may still be valid. She said people who mailed them from other parts of the world by Election Day, or whose signatures need to be validated, will still be part of the tally.
Jury said her office last counted ballots by hand in 2004, with other auditors offices across the state in the governor’s election between Democrat Chris Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi. After a couple of months, Gregoire emerged as the winner.
Jury said back then, they were recounting punch ballots, which are much more difficult to see than the black bubbles filled in next to a candidate’s name on today’s mail-in ballots.
“We had all those little holes to look at. This’ll be a lot nicer,” she said.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512