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Local Rossi faithful participate in rally

OLYMPIA — A protest of Governor-elect Christine Gregoire’s victory Jan. 11 in Olympia included a bus-full of North Kitsap residents, each of whom believe a re-vote of the closest gubernatorial election in state history is necessary to determine the rightful winner.

Approximately 50 residents boarded a private bus at Poulsbo’s Central Market Tuesday morning, headed for the state capital to lend their support to a grassroots rally in support of giving Republican candidate Dino Rossi another shot at the state’s top post.

“We’re going down there to get a fair election,” Kirsten Scheffler of Bainbridge Island said prior to the event. “Where every vote counts.”

Participants echoed many of the same concerns that Rossi’s campaign and Washington’s GOP faithful have been airing since Gregoire was announced the winner by a hair-thin 129-vote margin Dec. 23 following the state’s hand recount. North Kitsap participants in the rally focused most of their criticisms around neighboring King County, which has hosted a slew of election anomalies — most notably, the almost-daily fluctuation of unaccounted votes.

“It appears in King County they’re mining for votes,” said Dave Henden of Poulsbo. “I think we need a fair and honest election and we need the people in Olympia to know that.”

“There’s enough admitted mistakes in King County alone,” added Dave Yenderall of Poulsbo. “And when Dino Rossi was ahead by twice as much (after the original re-count) Gregoire called it a tie, but now she’s claiming victory.”

Dino Rossi was the winner in Kitsap County by a 57,775 to 56,236 vote margin, padding his lead by 10 votes following the hand recount. But Gregoire won King County 506,194 to 351,306, with the hand recount adding to her lead in Washington state’s most populated county by 179 votes.

But many of the NK residents who took part in the Olympia rally don’t buy into those results, alleging that King County mistakes — and perhaps even fraudulent ones at that, some claimed — should necessitate a re-vote. Regardless of a re-vote result, many countered that Rossi had already won the election based on the first tabulation and the machine recount that followed.

“I want to give my support for Gov. Rossi,” said Jennings Bird of Poulsbo. “I believe that he is the winner (of the election).”

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