SEATTLE -- The election director in Seattle's King County said yesterday that hundreds of absentee ballots were mistakenly rejected in the Democratic stronghold, enough to swing the governor's race to Democrat Christine Gregoire.
A statewide hand recount is underway across Washington state after Republican Dino Rossi came out ahead of Gregoire by just 42 votes out of 2.9 million cast.
Dean Logan, King County Elections director, said he will ask the county Canvass Board tomorrow to amend the results of the Nov. 2 election in his county. Agreement is likely; Logan has a seat on the three-person board, and one of the other members is a Democrat.
Logan said election workers mistakenly rejected 561 absentee ballots because they thought the signatures did not match original voter registration records.
He said, however, that the signatures simply were not on file in the county's computerized voter registration system and that the original registration records should have been checked by officials.
''We need to correct the error and count those votes," Logan said in a statement.
One of the rejected ballots belonged to the King County Council chairman, Larry Phillips, The Seattle Times reported.
''I was under the absolute impression not only I voted, but followed the instructions correctly," Phillips said.
''If it can happen to the King County Council chairman, it can happen to anyone else."