The Great Uncounted

Disqualified votes have the Mallahan camp guessing.

It is now certifiably official that Mike McGinn beat Joe Mallahan by 7,190 votes and will become Seattle's next mayor—no matter who was really elected. The final summary of the November election shows that 12,900 votes cast countywide were disqualified and not included in the victory count. King County's Canvassing Board report does not break down that figure by city. But there's enough speculative wiggle room (were, say, 8,000 of those votes for Joe?) to keep diehard Mallahanians wondering what if. It's similar to the August tally: 9,000 votes went uncounted in the mayoral primary, which incumbent Greg Nickels lost by 2,152 votes. Coulda, woulda, shoulda? And of course there's the what-if of every election in which half the voters don't even bother to cast a ballot: Of the nearly 1.1 million November-election ballots mailed out in King County, just 587,000 were returned by voters. An election doesn't necessarily reflect the will of the electorate. Still, A's for effort go to those 6,621 citizens who took the time to vote—just not on time: Their ballots arrived too late to be counted. Another 3,695 bore unverifiable signatures, while 856 bore no signature at all. And two dozen would-be voters were officially excused: They had notes from their morticians.

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