Oregon Independent Primary Triggers Manual Recount

The May 15 primary election delivered a few surprises that may take days (or weeks) to untangle.

Posted: May 16, 2018 12:03 PM

SALEM, Ore. — While election results are still considered unofficial, most races in Southern Oregon and throughout the state delivered clear front-runners before 9 p.m. on election night. However, there were a few notable exceptions.

The nonpartisan race for County Commissioner (Position 2) in Lake County came down to difference of less than one percent, or about 14 votes, between current front-runner Bruce Webbon and close-second James Williams.

Even closer is the race between the Republican candidates for State Representative, District 2. At the most recent count, incumbent Dallas L. Heard leads challenger Gary Leif by .19 percent—or 13 votes out of 6,886 counted.

CLICK HERE for our complete article on all election results, local and state.

While the Democratic and Republican primaries for Oregon's gubernatorial race produced clear winners—Kate Brown and Knute Buehler, respectively—Oregon's Independent Party is facing an unusual set of circumstances to resolve their primary.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Patrick Starnes received 26.4 percent of the vote, making him the technical front-runner. However, almost 55 percent of Independent votes went to write-in candidates, introducing the potential that Starnes might be outgunned after all.

Oregon election law includes a procedure for write-in candidates that mandates a manual recount (and recording) of those votes if they happen to equal or exceed the number of votes for a single candidate. Since write-in votes unnumbered votes for Starnes, the recount here is inevitable.

Perhaps more surprising, however, is that the Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) believes those votes could go to Buehler, Brown, or another major party candidate. Although Democrats and Republicans had closed primaries, it is possible for Independent voters (not registered with either major party) to have written in those candidates.

And, IPO said in a statement, both Brown and Buehler did major outreach to Independent voters before the primary.

"If Brown or Buehler gets more than 50 percent of the write-in vote, our party is going to have a very close primary race for governor this year," said IPO co-chair, Rob Harris.

Under Oregon law, IPO says, a major party candidate who also wins the Independent nomination via write-in can list their 'cross-nomination' status on the general election ballot. However, the IPO has internal rules against such an outcome—that have never been tested in court, they said.

"Past results suggest how Buehler, Brown and other candidates performed in this race will be a bellwether for November," Harris said. "If Starnes wins, he could have a huge impact on the general election running on a platform of campaign finance reform. As third party elections go in this country, it's pretty high stakes race with a cliffhanger finish."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 135142

Reported Deaths: 1832
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28678460
Washington18867175
Marion16394242
Clackamas11789138
Lane8467110
Jackson700485
Umatilla685671
Deschutes507339
Yamhill322846
Malheur316453
Linn314949
Polk249240
Klamath246944
Josephine178535
Benton174314
Jefferson171225
Douglas170943
Union112516
Wasco109123
Columbia105418
Lincoln100417
Hood River96121
Coos95215
Morrow94510
Clatsop6925
Crook62911
Baker5765
Tillamook3692
Curry3235
Lake2365
Grant2131
Harney1784
Wallowa973
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3074812

Reported Deaths: 35060
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103873814416
San Bernardino2569141560
Riverside2510002676
San Diego2185552174
Orange2165092508
Santa Clara949051129
Kern87240572
Fresno83200968
Sacramento811831128
Alameda68649788
Ventura62774462
San Joaquin58843788
Contra Costa53349460
Stanislaus43121766
Tulare42186515
Monterey36464255
San Mateo32887309
San Francisco29502266
Solano25983107
Santa Barbara25405243
Imperial25333474
Merced24570316
Sonoma24184242
Kings19588148
Placer17490184
San Luis Obispo16056140
Madera13528151
Santa Cruz12461113
Marin11732159
Yolo10789138
Shasta9750123
Butte9528128
El Dorado788649
Sutter782879
Napa767244
Lassen519916
San Benito500346
Yuba499627
Tehama433244
Tuolumne340340
Nevada323474
Mendocino319232
Amador302431
Lake262531
Humboldt242725
Glenn194820
Colusa17969
Calaveras162123
Siskiyou145713
Mono11244
Inyo98329
Del Norte8672
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3044
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Medford
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Brookings
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Medford
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Medford
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Klamath Falls
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