OREGON CITY, Ore. (KGW) — In Clackamas County, Tuesday’s election night ended with 10,356 votes counted but no percent of total results to display and no updated number of ballots cast since Monday.
The delay in results stemmed from an unexpected issue with about two-thirds of the ballots sent to county voters. According to the Clackamas County Clerk, there was a printing issue with the bar codes on impacted ballots, making them appear either too light or too blurry, which caused elections machines to reject them.
The fix has been two person, bi-partisan volunteer teams which have been duplicating the faulty ballots and entering them by hand to make sure they count.
In a statement issued late Tuesday night, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan criticized the delayed of results.
“As Oregon’s chief election officer – and a Clackamas County voter — I am deeply concerned about the delay in reporting from Clackamas County Elections tonight,” she said. “While I am confident that the process they are following is secure, transparent and the results will be accurate, the county’s reporting delays tonight are unacceptable. Voters have done their jobs, and now it’s time for Clackamas County Elections to do theirs.”
Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall on Tuesday said she had no guess for how long counting all of the votes would take.
“Our top priority is to get this election done very accurately and on time,” said Hall. “Accuracy is way more important than speed.”
Hall said the official number of ballots turned in stood at around 65,000 on Monday, with around 16,000 more votes collected by noon on Election Day. She said volunteers would spend Tuesday night verifying signatures on ballots collected by 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Volunteers will return on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. to begin counting them and duplicating faulty ballots when necessary.
“We are doing it by the book and anyone who wants to can come in and watch it,” said Hall.
Many voters did, including Suzanne Westfall. She spent hours watching volunteers from the observation room.
“If they’re having people from multiple parties observing, then I’m good with it,” Westfall said.