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Feb. 6, 2023

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Joe Kent to request machine recount in 3rd District race

Campaign cites ‘close margin, technical issues’ in 3rd District voter tally

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Republican Joe Kent’s campaign announced Friday it intends to request a machine recount of all counties within Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

“We believe the election workers did their best to ensure a fair election and count the ballots accurately,” a statement from the campaign read. “But given the close margin between the two campaigns, technical issues with the signature verifications software, and the obligation we have to our supporter to ensure certainty about the outcome, we believe a second tabulation is in order.”

The Kent campaign did not respond to The Columbian’s request to clarify its concern about signature verification software.

The secretary of state’s office reported that Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez won the race with 160,314 votes, or 50.14 percent, leading Kent’s 157,685 votes, 49.31 percent. This left a margin of 2,629 votes, or 0.83 percent — avoiding an automatic recount, which only occurs if the difference in totals in less than one half of one percent and is also less than 2,000 votes.

Kent must provide a security deposit close to $48,000, accounting for the machine recount fee of 15 cents per ballot for the 319,759 ballots cast in the race. However, the actual fee may be lower. He can officially submit the request to the secretary of state office within two days after it verifies the election results, which won’t happen until approximately Dec. 8.

Derrick Nunnally, the secretary of state office’s deputy director of external affairs, said an approximate time frame for a machine recount won’t be known until the process begins. Multiple factors, ranging from each county’s machines, staffing and the day county recounts begin, further complicate establishing a time estimate. The 3rd District encompasses Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties, as well as a small portion of Thurston County.

In Clark County — accounting for 64.12 percent of total ballots cast districtwide, or 205,045 votes — a machine recount would take five to seven business days, according to the Clark County Elections Office.

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