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Official: Ballot concerns were raised before disputed vote

By Associated Press
Published May 26, 2005

WENATCHEE, Wash. - The mail ballot supervisor in Washington's most populous county testified Wednesday that she raised concerns about the county's inability to track ballots months before last year's disputed governor's race.

The supervisor, Nicole Way, said she told her bosses as early as spring 2004 that the King County elections department couldn't tell how many ballots were mailed out or received back. Two-thirds of the county's 900,000 votes in the November election were mail ballots.

She testified on the third day of a trial in the GOP's challenge to the governor's race, which Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, won by 129 votes on the third count.

Republicans say the election was stolen from from Dino Rossi through fraud and errors and seek a new election.

Way said she and her supervisor, Garth Fell, an assistant elections superintendent, approved a Nov. 17 report that falsely showed all absentee ballots had been accounted for.

Fell said elections chief Bill Huennekens knew about the inaccuracies before the county canvassing board certified the results.

Huennekens denied knowing in advance about inaccuracies, but admitted he didn't "have an exact number" of absentee ballots in the Democratic-leaning county.

[Last modified May 26, 2005, 01:18:13]

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