Election /

Oregon House Primary Results Delayed Following Ballot Counting Issue

Issues with ballot printing and scanning delayed Clackamas County from releasing its preliminary results on election night

A problem with ballot counting has delayed the results in Oregon’s third-largest congressional district.

Barcodes on a number of ballots in Clackamas County – which includes part of the Fifth and Sixth Congressional Districts – were too blurred to be read by vote-counting machines. Poll workers had to distribute new ballots so the results could be tallied. 

Seven-term incumbent Representative Kurt Schrader is looking to hold on to his seat in the state’s Fifth Congressional District. The Democrat was behind his challenger, attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner, as of election night.

Lori Chavez-Deremer, the former mayor of Happy Valley, was the project winner of the district’s Republican primary.

The district, which once stretched to the Pacific Coast, now reaches east to include Bend, where Schrader has less name recognition,” reports AP News. “President Joe Biden recently endorsed Schrader, a veterinarian and former state lawmaker, but he has alienated progressive members of his party over the course of his last term.”

In the Sixth District, incumbent Democratic Representative Andrea Salinas defeated Carrick Flynn, who had been backed by crypto-billionaire and fellow effective altruist Sam Bankman-Fried. Businessman Mike Erickson of Lake Oswego was regarded as the likely winner of the district’s Republican primary.

In addition to the barcode issues, two-thirds of the ballots used in Clackamas County had to be counted by hand after a printing error left ballots defective.

The County Clerk, Sherry Hall, said the issues would not prevent the county from releasing preliminary results around 8 P.M. – a deadline that was ultimately missed, according to Oregon Live.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan called the county’s delays “unacceptable” in a statement released late on the evening of May 17.

“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,” Fagan 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.”

As of the morning after the election, The Register-Guard has called the results for Congressional District 1, District 2 (which had no Republican challengers), District 3, and District 4.

Tina Kotek won the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary and will most likely face off against Republican Christine Drazen, who secured 23% of the vote with 90% counted.

Democrat Ron Wyden was the projected winner of the Senate primary. The Republican race had not been called as of May 18 with Jo Rae Perkins narrowly leading Darin Harbick.

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