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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.

Confirmed Cases: 10395

Reported Deaths: 215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah252969
Marion166148
Washington162020
Clackamas86125
Umatilla7726
Union3561
Lincoln3464
Lane2283
Deschutes2210
Malheur2161
Polk16012
Linn1579
Jackson1520
Yamhill1398
Jefferson1340
Klamath1301
Morrow1071
Benton955
Hood River940
Wasco941
Josephine561
Clatsop540
Douglas510
Columbia420
Coos420
Lake210
Tillamook150
Crook130
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman30
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 271035

Reported Deaths: 6441
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1165703534
Riverside20555486
Orange17882366
San Diego16726387
San Bernardino15345269
Imperial7190117
Alameda6855140
Fresno611077
Santa Clara5408164
Kern536982
Tulare5009136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento423669
San Francisco399250
Contra Costa387885
Ventura378950
San Mateo3599108
Santa Barbara326129
Marin280921
Kings267333
Stanislaus266045
Monterey215115
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer91111
San Luis Obispo7652
Yolo67726
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4593
Napa4364
San Benito2732
Sutter2523
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1544
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Yuba1282
Glenn1220
Lake961
Tehama881
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono471
Tuolumne430
Amador330
Inyo331
Siskiyou320
Mariposa311
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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