Washington residents might not know for several days who their next governor will be.
As counties around the state wrapped up the counting of their ballots cast at poll sites early this morning, Democrat Christine Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi were locked in a drum-tight race to take over from retiring Gov. Gary Locke.
With more than 90 percent of the precincts reporting statewide, Gregoire, a three-term attorney general, led former state Sen. Rossi by about 4,000 votes out of some 1.8 million cast.
But hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots have yet to be counted. The state’s 39 counties each have different schedules for counting their mail-in ballots, with most of the large counties expected to start later today.
There are also tens of thousands of provisional ballots – those cast by voters who weren’t on the rolls but believe they are registered – which must also be processed. Elections officials may not have those sorted until sometime next week.
Gregoire led in most polls throughout the campaign, but Rossi had closed the gap in recent weeks.