87 absentee ballots found unopened in King County
10:57 AM PST on Saturday, April 2, 2005
SEATTLE - King County elections workers have discovered 87 unopened absentee ballots that were not counted in the disputed November election for governor, officials said.
The newly discovered ballots have been locked up and will not be opened or counted without a court order, elections officials said Friday.
Workers discovered the first of the overlooked ballots March 24 while reviewing absentee ballot mail envelopes, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Saturday. Lawyers for the Democratic party asked them to go through the envelopes to determine whether alleged felons cited by the GOP had voted illegally.
"Clearly, this further illustrates the systemic issues we face in King County to ensure that our processes and procedures are tightened and that adequate safeguards and documentation are in place to prevent these errors from occurring in the future," Elections Director Dean Logan said in a statement. "I will seek and secure whatever resources are necessary to prevent this from reoccurring." Democrat Christine Gregoire defeated Republican candidate Dino Rossi by 129 votes in a hand recount of 2.9 million ballots. Rossi won the first two counts.
Rossi has filed a lawsuit in Chelan County challenging the election.
Republicans say that hundreds of felons voted in the election illegally. King County prosecutors have so far identified nearly 200 felons who were illegally registered to vote.
State law requires felons to serve their sentences, pay any fines or restitution required and get a certificate noting restoration of their voting rights before they can register to vote.
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