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Counties In Washington Certify November Election

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

County elections officials in Washington certified their elections on Tuesday. In Spokane County at least, there was much less drama than what we’ve seen in other counties and states. The canvassing board reviewed the numbers and voted to certify the election, as per usual.

What came after was unusual, says Auditor Vicky Dalton. A handful of concerned citizens came armed with questions, such as can illegal immigrants register to vote and cast ballots in Washington.

“There were so many real good topics that we discussed. It wasn’t just the immigration status, but it was also talking about what’s the difference between an active and an inactive voter and then how do we get information about voters who have moved to another state?" Dalton said.

After an hour, she believes folks went away feeling better about the process.

More than 82% of Spokane County voters, nearly 300,000, cast ballots. That’s a lot more than Dalton’s staff usually has to handle, but they had one thing going for them.

“Because voters returned their ballots so early, we were able to process a lot of ballots and have those available on Election Night for release in the results," she said, making the count on subsequent days, a few thousand ballots per, much easier.

All of the incumbents for county and local legislative offices won, but for one race in the Fourth Legislative District, where Republican Rob Chase defeated Democrat Lance Gurel for an open state House seat.

In many of the statewide races, Spokane County results differed from the rest of the state. In the governor’s race, for example, Spokane picked Republican Loren Culp over the incumbent, Jay Inslee. He and several Democrats who won statewide did not win in Spokane County.

As smoothly as the ballot counting went, Dalton says there were a few issues.

“What did cause some bumps for us were people listening to the national stories or to social media and thinking that what they were seeing applied to Washington state or was happening in Washington state," she said.

In many cases, she says she had to tell people that election processes and rules aren’t always consistent from state to state.

The results from counties will now be forwarded to the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia. The state is scheduled to certify the election on December 3, the same day as Oregon’s certification. Idaho state officials wrapped up their election last Wednesday. Montana’s certification is scheduled for next Monday.