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Great Experience as Observer of Governorship Manual Recount


Nov 9, 2004
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I took off work Thursday so I could learn and experience more of our election process than just voting. I entered the Givens Center at 8:15 to observe the manual recount for the Washington State governorship.

I wore a name tag noting my party affiliation. We weren't allowed to talk with the counters or the election official at any of the 24 tables. But we could talk to each other and the Election Official Supervisors.

I found myself standing at a table with two older gentleman in their 60's and 70's watching them sort the ballots according to Dino, Gregoire, Bennett (Libertarian), undervote, write-in, overvote and canvas.

Per the advisement from the Rossi guy there, we were there only to make sure there were no writing implements to mark changes on the optical scan ballots. We were there to protect the integrity of the ballots. We were supposed to watch four tables at once.

I did look around alot and make sure no one had anything other than a red pen. But I couldn't help myself looking at who voted for president too.

It wasn't too long into the process that I observed the Republican counter take a ballot with a solidly indicated Rossi vote - the same solid line throughout the ballot - and suggest that it go into the overvote pile because of two incredibly light stay pencil marks that made an "x" over the lines for the write-in and libertarian arrows. The Democrat agreed and it went to the overvote pile to not be counted.

"Ah!!! I don't agree! What should I do?" I thought. Thankfully, the county auditor came by and stood right by me. I whispered, "What do I do if I don't agree with their placement of a ballot?" She said I should tell an Election Official. I looked at her name tag and then said, "Ok. Then that's what I'm doing." Then I explained to her what I just saw. She quietly went over and asked to see their overvotes. She looked at the ballot and asked the two gentlemen if they really intended to declare the two stray pencil marks as intended votes in addition to the existing Rossi vote. If they didn't then it should go to canvas. The ballot ended up going to canvas panel where I later observed it being counted for Rossi as it probably had been in the machine counts.

Wooo HOO!! What a way to learn you can make a difference.

I would certainly observe again. The whole experience was fascinating and you can really get a feel for the checks and balances in the system. Also important is understanding where there's room for human error or mischief.


Benevolent Dictator
DP Veteran
May 19, 2004
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Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
I had missed this the other day...sounds like you grabbed some good Karma. :)

I bet it was interesting indeed.
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