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Elections officials begin hand recount in Kitsap County sheriff election

Citizens who paid for the recount hope it will verify the election process.

KITSAP COUNTY, Wash. — A voter-funded recount is underway in the Kitsap County sheriff’s race.

Incumbent Sheriff John Gese overwhelmingly defeated challenger Rick Kuss in the November election by nearly 20,000 votes.

The backers of the recount do not expect their effort to overturn the initial results, the citizens behind the request said they hope the process will confirm the accuracy of the November results.

“A hand recount is one check we can commission to verify that the tabulating machines did in fact tally the votes correctly,” said William Campbell, in a written statement.

Campbell was elected chair of the group that is made up of six registered voters.

The group is paying Kitsap County $31,000 to conduct the recount, which is expected to take two weeks, said Kitsap County Auditor Paul Andrews.

Andrews said he is confident the initial numbers will be confirmed.

"If they're willing to pay for it, I'm willing to count them," Andrews said. ”I welcome this. For me, this is our chance to really shine now. To prove what we did back in the election when we did the initial count.” 

Kuss, who was not part of the group who requested the recount, said he helped the citizens raise funds.

He is not expecting to be named sheriff as a result, he is just curious how accurate the machine count will turn out to be.

”I have accepted the results. I’m moving on,” said Kuss, “I’ve already done a job interview, so it’s not like I’m holding out hope for a Christmas miracle here.”

Sheriff Gese, in a written statement, said he respects the recount process.

“But at this time I am moving forward and focusing on my work as sheriff by serving the people of Kitsap County and leading the women and men of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office,” said Gese.

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