PORT ORCHARD — Residents of the 26th Legislative District are expected to know for certain who their new state senator is by the morning of Friday, Dec. 7 when canvassing boards from Kitsap and Pierce counties will certify results from a mandatory recount of general election ballots to be undertaken next week.
Election officials in the two counties, which share the 26th District boundaries, will begin a manual recount of the election ballots for the state Senate seat beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 4. On Thursday, the Secretary of State’s office formally called for a recount, as mandated by state law after a machine count of ballots showed a 104-vote margin between Democrat Emily Randall and Republican Marty McClendon in the combined county vote tally. Results indicating a margin of fewer than 150 votes requires a manual recount of election ballots for the seat.
A final result combining recounted ballots from the two counties will be known on Friday, Dec. 7, when the Pierce County canvassing board meets to certify its results at 10:30 a.m. At 9 a.m. that day, Kitsap County’s board will gather to certify results from its own recount completed a day earlier. Pierce County will manually recount ballots over three-plus days — Dec. 4 and up to the canvassing board meeting date in the morning of Dec. 7, if additional time is needed, said Mike Rooney, Pierce County’s elections manager.
In combined county results, Randall leads McClendon by 104 votes with a 50.07 percent to 49.93 percent margin — a 0.14-percentage-point difference. The final, but preliminary, results showed Randall leading McClendon, 35,087 to 34,983 votes.
Kitsap County will begin preparations for the recount on Dec. 4, Steve Gardner of the county’s auditor’s office said. He said the entire process, including preparations, from Dec. 4-7 is considered a public meeting and open to observers. Counting will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 in the Kitsap County Administration Building in Port Orchard.