Thursday, November 05, 2009

"Mallahan, McGinn neck and neck in Seattle mayor race"(only half the votes have been counted)

New numbers released Wednesday afternoon show environmentalist attorney Mike McGinn' lead over T-Mobile executive Joe Mallahan in the race to be Seattle's next mayor is shrinking.

With 47% of the expected vote counted, the numbers show McGinn leading with a mere 462 votes at 49.77% with 52,238 votes, while Mallahan has 49.33% at 51,776 . About 105,000 votes have been counted. McGinn led by 910 votes on Tuesday night.
The all mail-in election opens new questions about late night voting. Tuesday night, McGinn supporters took an unprecedented step. After the 8:15 p.m. numbers came out, they gathered ballots from voters who hadn't mailed them and drove them to a SeaTac post office, where they could be postmarked before midnight.

"Well, we kept the whole team working hard, and they worked hard right through the last minute," said McGinn.

Mallahan reacted to McGinn's late night ballot deliveries.

"I have no objection to that. I actually hadn't thought about the legal implications of acting as an agent, carrying a ballot to a polling place, but when I first heard it I thought, 'That's just good organizing,'" said Mallahan.

But it's not sitting well with Washington's secretary of state.

"What they did is legal, but I don't think it's proper," said Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed.

Reed believes mail in election laws should change.

"It is another compelling reason to change laws to say the ballots have to be in at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day," said Reed.

In the August primary, McGinn and Mallahan outpolled Mayor Greg Nickels, a two-term incumbent, after he was dogged by criticism of the city's response to a December snowstorm that paralyzed Seattle for nearly two weeks.

Neither has ever held or run for elective public office before. One major difference between the two: McGinn opposes replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel; Mallahan supports the tunnel.
The biggest difference in where the candidates stood on the plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel. Mallahan supported it, while McGinn based his campaign on opposing it.

Some pointed to McGinn's apparent flip flop on his opposition to the tunnel, as a critical turning point in the campaign. McGinn changed from outright opposition to saying he wouldn't oppose the tunnel, but would continue to ask tough questions about the project.
Howie P.S.: More details about how the votes are being counted here: "McGinn still leads Mallahan, barely" ( For more details in how both campaigns turned out late voters and some analysis of Wednesday's count, see "Only 462 votes separate candidates in mayor's race" (Seattle Times). Eye-popping quote from the Times story: "King County Elections has counted about 105,000 votes, about half the expected total."

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