GOLD BEACH – Election workers are counting write-in votes by hand to make sure that the May 15 primary election can be certified by Monday’s deadline.
“We have to tally the write-ins for positions where no candidate filed,” Curry County Clerk Reneé Kolen said Tuesday.
“The election boards are tallying those write-ins. The machine will tell us how many write-ins there are, but it won’t tell us who they are,” Kolen said. “We have to be done by June 4. We hope to be done by tomorrow. It’s a slow process.”
Most of the positions where no candidates filed are for political party committee persons. Many of those are filled by write-in votes.
She said currently there are no changes in the last vote count at 1:21 p.m. on May 16.
“By law, we have to wait for 10 days,” Kolen said. “We have to wait for other counties to send ballots that were cast in the wrong county.”
Kolen said once the write-in votes are counted, her office has to issue certificates to the winners.
“It’s an involved election,” she said, unlike single issue elections.
Kolen said there are half a million “opportunities” to vote on those ballots; that is, boxes that appear by candidates on the ballot. All of which must be viewed by election officials.
“Whether you voted. Did you mark the box?” she said.
In the primary election, Curry County had 7,318 ballots returned, for 55.70 percent turnout. There were 13,138 registered voters.
In the two contested county elections, David Brock Smith and Lucie La Bonté will meet in a run-off on the November General Election ballot for County Commissioner Position 2, and Susan Brown and Greg Empson will face off in that election for County Commissioner Position 3.
In the Primary Election, La Bonté had 2,617 votes, or 38.80 percent of those cast, to Smith’s 1,797 or 26.64 percent.
Votes for other candidates for Position 2 were Leroy Blodgett 977 or 14.48 percent, George Rhodes 685 or 10.16 percent and Randy Dubbs Dowler 639 or 9.47 percent. There were 30 write-in votes cast and 518 ballots that did not cast a vote for that office. Another 55 cast more than one vote and were not counted.
For Position 3, Brown received 3,041 votes or 45.87 percent and Empson 1,331 or 20.08 percent. John Herzog received 1,278 votes for 19.28 percent and Bill Waddle 949 or 14.31 percent. There were 31 write-in votes and 676 ballots without a vote for that office. Another 12 ballots contained more than one vote and weren’t counted.
“The election boards did a fabulous job in inspecting over a half million opportunities in order to be certified by June 4. It was a nice job by the boards and election staff,” Kolen said.