RECORD-BREAKING ELECTION CERTIFIED; STATEWIDE RECOUNT ORDERED ON ABORTION RIGHTS INITIATIVE
RECORD-BREAKING ELECTION CERTIFIED;
STATEWIDE RECOUNT ORDERED ON ABORTION RIGHTS INITIATIVE
OLYMPIA, Wash., Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Secretary of State Ralph Munro today confirmed that a vote recount will be required on Initiative 120, the abortion rights measure which received a narrow margin of approval in last month's statewide balloting.
Munro, the state's chief elections officer, also announced that more than two-thirds of the state's registered voters took part in the Nov. 5 general election, a turnout which surpasses all other odd-year elections by a substantial margin.
The mandatory recount on I-120 was triggered by Munro's official certification of the returns from the statewide election. State law requires a recount whenever the difference between votes for and against a ballot measure is equal to or less than one-half of one percent (0.5 percent) of the total votes cast on the measure.
The Secretary of State's official canvass of Initiative 120 showed 756,653 votes in favor and 752,354 against -- a difference of 4,299 votes or 0.28 percent.
Under state law, canvassing boards in each of the state's 39 counties must begin their recounts within five days of receiving notice from the Secretary of State. Munro said the notices will be timed to arrive at the county auditor offices next Monday in hopes that local election officials will be able to complete their recounts by Dec. 13. The results will then be checked and certified by the Secretary of State's office.
"We're hoping to certify by Dec. 20," said Munro, "but it all depends on how quickly the counties complete their recounts and get the information to our office."
The cost of the recount, estimated at approximately $20,000, will be borne by the state.
Initiative 120 would write into state law the basic abortion rights granted under the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling. Of the eight measures appearing on this year's statewide ballot, I-120 was one of only two proposals to receive a favorable vote.
In certifying the results of the election, Munro noted that official turnout of registered voters reached 67.9 percent, a record high for an odd-year election. The previous record of 58.7 percent was set in 1983 when the state held a special election to fill the vacancy created by the death of Sen. Henry M. Jackson.
"This year's turnout also topped several even-year elections," said Munro. "It's the highest turnout we've had in any non- presidential election since 1970."
Munro noted that absentee voting also reached a record high this year. More than 230,000 people voted by absentee ballot this year, he said, accounting for 15 percent of the total turnout. The previous high of 14 percent was established last year.
/CONTACT: David Brine of the Secretary of State's Office, 206-753-2526/ CO: Office of the Secretary of State ST: Washington IN: SU:
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