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Kitsap County citizens fund ballot recount in lopsided sheriff's race

The Republican challenger Rick Kuss said the point of the recount is not to overturn the election, but to see if any mistakes were made.

KITSAP, Wash. — A citizens group in Kitsap County has paid $31,060 in cash to fund a ballot recount in a lopsided race in which a Republican sheriff’s candidate lost the November election by nearly 20,000 votes.

Kitsap County Auditor Paul Andrews said his team will begin hand-counting ballots on Monday and the process could take weeks to complete.

The race between Republican challenger Rick Kuss, who faced incumbent sheriff John Gese in November, wasn’t even close. The final tally showed Kuss with only 42% of the ballots cast.

But state law allows six or more citizens to request a recount in an election, as long as they pay for it.

“The purpose isn’t to overturn the election, it’s to see if there is any error,” Kuss said in a phone interview with KING 5.

Kuss said he is not part of the group, but that he did help them fundraise to pay for the recount.

Kuss said there has been much debate within the Republican party about the accuracy of electronic vote count machines and the elections process itself. He said the group wanted to test how reliable the initial vote count was. He said he does not expect the hand recount to change the vote tally that much.

Kuss said he only met the chairman of the fundraising group, William Campbell of Bremerton, recently. Five other Port Orchard citizens also signed the application for a recount.

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