Leaping Salmon Quarter Design
by Curt Woodward, Associated Press
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The people have spoken, and they want the leaping salmon.
That's the result - with more than 134,000 votes counted - of an opinion poll for three designs competing to grace the flip side of Washington state's commemorative quarter.
Coming in first with nearly 45 percent of the vote was "Design Two," which features a salmon breaching the surface of a lake in front of a tree-fringed Mount Rainier. It also displays "The Evergreen State" as a slogan.
Second place in the poll, with about 40 percent of the tally, went to a design incorporating the motto and images of apples, Mount Rainier and a salmon within the outline of the state.
An American Indian-styled drawing of a killer whale, playfully spouting water and raising its tail fluke, garnered about 14 percent of the votes.
But that's not the final word. Gov. Chris Gregoire will decide the ultimate winner this month, with a formal announcement planned for the summer after approval from the U.S. Mint. The quarter is slated for release in 2007.
The State Quarter Advisory Commission, led by the governor's husband Mike Gregoire, met Monday to make its formal design recommendation to the governor.
State officials declined to reveal that recommendation on Monday afternoon, saying Gov. Gregoire hadn't formally received the panel's opinion.
"That's kind of secret right now," Mike Gregoire said, adding, "I'm not trying to be evasive here."
"Technically, the recommendation is part of the governor's decision-making process and should remain with the governor until she makes her formal announcement," said Holly Armstrong, the governor's spokeswoman.
The commission received thousands of hand-marked ballots from schoolchildren and others, but most of the opinion poll's votes came through a Web site linked to the governor's Internet page, said Mark Gerth, a quarter commission spokesman.
That process was plagued earlier this year by robotic computer programs that took advantage of the ability to cast more than one vote from a single computer address.
State technicians were forced to suspend the voting for a few days after a barrage of repetitive votes swelled the tally past 1 million in a single weekend.
The online polling started anew, with features that made it more difficult to cast repeat votes and a promise to delete clear cases of online ballot-box stuffing.
"It just added to the buzz," Gerth said.
bluefish appends that Curt Woodward's article notes the choices as:
WA Quarter Poll Resumes after Computer Mischief by Curt Woodward, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 4/11/6
Finalists Selected for State Quarter Design by Susan Gilmore, Seattle Times, 1/19/6
Wildlife, Apples, Mountains: Finalists for WA Quarter by Curt Woodward, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/19/6
It's the Final Stretch for Idaho's Quarter Design by Tim Woodward, Idaho Statesman, 9/27/5
Governor: Here's what shouldn't be on our quarter by Tim Woodward, Idaho Statesman, 8/4/5
State quarter: www.governor.wa.gov/quarter
U.S. Mint: www.usmint.gov
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