New election returns in Washington’s 26th Legislative District are providing fresh proof that each and every vote really does matter.
As of this evening, a mere twelve votes separate Democratic contender Emily Randall from Republican Marty McClendon in Washington’s 26th Legislative District. The winner of the contest will head to the Washington State Senate for a four-year term. The losing candidate will be ruefully wishing their campaign’s get out the vote effort had been at least a smidgeon stronger for a long time to come.
Randall, the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer, is back in the lead following today’s drop after falling behind late last week. She led on Election Night by a few hundred votes and was able to maintain that lead until Friday, when Republican McClendon overtook her. Yesterday, Randall cut into his lead. Today, she erased it entirely.
Randall and McClendon are now effectively tied. Randall has 34,279 votes, or 50.01%, while McClendon has 34,267 votes, or 49.99%.
State legislative races really don’t get any closer than this.
Randall is winning the Kitsap County portion of the district, which includes Port Orchard, Southworth, and part of Bremerton. McClendon is winning the Pierce County portion, which includes Gig Harbor, Point Fosdick, and the Key Peninsula.
With the number of ballots left to count dwindling, it appears this race will go to an automatic recount. Courtesy of the Secretary of State, here is a rundown of the procedure for automatic recounts in non-statewide races like this one:
Mandatory Recounts for non-statewide races:
- A machine recount is required when the difference between the top two candidates is less than 2,000 votes AND ALSO less than 1⁄2 of 1% of the total number of votes cast for both candidates.
- A manual recount is required when the difference between the top two candidates is less than 150 votes AND ALSO less than 1⁄4 of 1% of the total votes cast for both candidates.
Non-Mandatory Recounts: A recount may be requested as follows, even if the difference between the top two candidates does not meet the mandatory recount thresholds:
- An application for a recount of the votes cast must be filed with the elections officer with whom filings are made for the jurisdiction. For example, candidates for offices that encompass multiple counties file with the Secretary of State. The application must be filed within three business days after certification.
- An officer of a political party or any person for whom votes were cast at any election may file a written application for a recount of the votes or a portion of the votes cast at that election for all candidates for election to that office.
- Any group of five or more registered voters may file a written application for a recount of the votes or a portion of the votes cast upon any question or issue.
- Any qualified individual or group of registered voters requesting a recount is required to, at the time of submitting the application for a recount, submit a deposit, by cash or certified check, to the county canvassing board or the Secretary of State as follows:
- For a machine recount — fifteen cents for each ballot cast in the jurisdiction or portion of the jurisdiction for which the recount is requested.
- For a manual recount — twenty-five cents for each ballot cast in the jurisdiction or portion of the jurisdiction for which the recount is requested.
This contest currently qualifies for a manual recount under RCW 29A.64.021. That means election workers in Kitsap and Pierce counties will have to inspect each ballot by hand as opposed to running them through optical scanners again.