As they voted in the November 2004 election, Washington State citizens were unaware that they were launching a stunning and controversial political episode. The chaotic primary, a public equally divided between two candidates, the soaring voter turnout, and the timing of Election Day all collided, creating the closest ballot result for any governor’s race in American history. Never before had an election for a statewide office required two recounts. In another first, litigation followed, calling into question the integrity and accuracy of the entire voting process. Whether Dino Rossi or Christine Gregoire would claim victory was finally decided in June of 2005. Out of 2.8 million votes cast, the winning margin—after the initial tally, a re-total by machine, and ultimately a manual recount—was a razor-thin 133 votes.
Written from the perspective of the Office of Secretary of State, An Election for the Ages offers a chronological profile of these dramatic events. It clarifies and explains interpretations of election statutes, court rulings, and the role of state officials, providing an inside look at how Secretary of State Sam Reed and his key executive and election staff supervised a heated political battle that reached beyond this particular race and to the rules of democracy itself.
Photographs / illustrations / index / 184 pages (2010)