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Local legislator wants extended vote counting

January 24th, 2013 - 6:18am

(Olympia) - A local lawmaker wants to extend vote counting in our state to midnight on election night.

Sequim Democrat Rep. Kevin Van De Wege has introduced a bill that , would require ballots on election night to be processed and counted until midnight, unless there are no more ballots on hand to count.

He says that may help put more finality to some races on election night. In Washington state, elections often don't end on election night, because the state's vote-by-mail system ensures that any close race will be unsettled for days afterward.

During this past election in November, all of the state's counties, except for Pierce, did one count shortly after the 8 p.m. "poll close" deadline and then resumed tally updates in the following days and weeks. The governor's race wasn't called until the end of election week, and other races that were too close to call went even longer.

Van De Wege's bill is set to have a hearing today before the House Government Operations & Elections Committee.

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