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As election season comes to end for many, some local races prepare for mandatory recounts


Tuesday marked the end for many campaigns across Washington state, as counties certify their election results. But there are several contests around the Puget Sound region that face recounts.

Mandatory recounts by hand occur when races are separated by fewer than 150 votes. That number also has to be less than a quarter of a percent of votes cast in the race.

In King County, only one contest requires a manual recount. Candidates are separated by just four votes in one Bothell City Council race.

King County Elections spokeswoman Halei Watkins says the multiday recount process starts with pulling ballots from sealed boxes.

"Pulling will take quite a bit of time,” Watkins said. “The next day, likely in the afternoon, we will start the counting process, and so folks will sit in teams two and count their batches out and then the results will be all tabulated together.”

Watkins says the recount should be completed next week. But the Bothell City Council race won't be decided then. The city spans both King and Snohomish counties. Each will do its own manual recount in that race. 

Snohomish County Elections Manager Garth Fell says it's not unusual for there to be recounts in small local elections.

"I know that they want to have these results finalized," Fell said. "We're certainly sensitive to that, but we also want to make sure we get it right."

Fell says the goal is to finish the recount process in the second week of December.

The Bothell race is the only one in King County that requires a hand recount, though a Mercer Island race and one in Redmond will be recounted by a machine. Snohomish County has to do hand recounts in two additional races.

UPDATE, Nov. 27: In Pierce County, two races are headed to a mandatory machine recount. The races are for the Sumner City Council Position 7 and the Bethel School District Director 2. The County Auditor's office will begin the recounts on Dec. 3.

A Seattle native and former knkx intern, Simone Alicea has returned to the Pacific Northwest from covering breaking news at the Chicago Sun-Times. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.