The electoral noose is fitting tighter every day in two races left undecided in the preliminary Nov. 2 vote. Democratic state Rep. Dawn Morrell of Puyallup trails Republican Hans Zeiger of Sumner by a mere 28 votes, and Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders trails former judge Charlie Wiggins by just 4,285 votes.
More ballots should be counted late this afternoon, but unless the margins increase by a bit, the Morrell-Zeiger race is headed to an automatic recount by machine. But the court race might require the loser to post a deposit to cover recount costs if he chooses to seek a recount.
The Office of the Secretary of State released guidelines on recounts earlier in the month that say for mandatory machine recounts, the difference in the votes must be less than 0.5 percent and also less than 2,000. Wiggins-Sanders meets the second test, not the first.
Zeiger-Morrell meets both of those tests with only a few Pierce County votes left to tally tonight. For a mandatory hand recount, the standard for regional or local races is 0.25 percent and less than 150 votes, which this race also appears to meet. [This was updated to correct the details.]
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UPDATE: Here's an item suggesting that Democratic Rep. Kelli Linville's apparent loss to Republican Vincent Buys also could be headed for a machine recount.