Statement from Catherine McMullen to Voters Regarding the Current Status of May Primary Election Results in Our County

Good morning Clackamas County voters and Oregon elections community –

As an experienced election administrator and Clackamas County voter I am extremely concerned about the continued lack of accountability, transparency, and timeliness coming from the current clerk in response to the barcode errors and extreme delay of results reporting for the May Primary election. I wanted to share important information this morning about what the sparse results from last night show and more importantly what they do not show. Some badly needed context should be provided.

As you may know, the Election Night results reported from the current county clerk are severely incomplete and do not provide sufficient information, reporting heavily skewed results from only 15.78% of ballots returned by end of day Monday. We do not yet know the number of ballots returned on Election Day, nor the outcome or even the trend with most if not all contests in our county, as well as key state and federal contests.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan issued a statement late last night as I was arriving home from my work as an election administrator. The full statement is below and linked.

Statement from Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan on Clackamas County Elections Results Delay

SALEM, OR —  The following is a statement from Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan on the Clackamas County Elections Results Delay:

“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. 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.

“In recent days, my office and other counties have offered extra personnel to help with timely reporting. We eagerly await a response from county elections officials on how we can aid in the timely processing of results. I am disappointed that we have not seen more urgency from elections officials in Clackamas County.”

Here is my brief, expert analysis working with the same limited data we all have:

We received one unofficial report of results late last night, with a run time of 7:14 PM that included only 10,356 tallied votes. It is important to note, as the current clerk admitted to the Oregonian on Monday, that these results are heavily skewed as the majority of ballots affected by the barcode error were Democratic ballots, while the Republican and Nonaffiliated ballots were largely unaffected. As of early Wednesday morning we still do not have a report from the current clerk as to how many total ballots she had received as of Election Night, and we also do not know how many ballots there are with barcode errors that need to be duplicated or what the party breakdown is on those ballots (Democratic, Republican, or Nonaffiliated). 

We can, however, look at the turnout for the Governor’s contests to see what the breakdown is of voted ballots from this small sample. Of the 10,356 ballots reported, only 1,882 voters made a choice in the Democratic Party Governor’s race (48 undervotes, 2 overvotes) for a total of 1,932 Democratic Party ballots included in the first report of results. By contrast,6,352 voters made a choice in the Republican Party Governor’s race (138 undervotes, 36 overvotes) for a total of 6,526 Republican ballots included in the first report of results. That leaves 2,072 Nonaffiliated ballots.

The percentage break down of the current count is:

Total Ballots Reported 10, 356 100%

Democratic Party ballots   1,932 18.66%

Republican Party ballots   6,352 61.34%

Nonaffiliated ballots   2,072 20.00%

The initial results are heavily skewed toward reporting Republican Party choices; this is particularly important to note in the nonpartisan contests at the state and local level including County Commissioner Position 2 and 5. We should expect as voters for the outcomes of all contests to be updated and become clear as more information is provided, but in particular nonpartisan contest results have the potential to change dramatically because of the current uneven ratio of ballots counted along party lines.

Currently the current clerk is reporting 65,645 ballots returned as of end of day Monday, May 16. That means only 15.78% of ballots returned by end of day Monday were included in last night’s late results reporting. This is a far cry from established practice across the state of county clerks reporting results at least through Monday’s returns. We do not yet know how many ballots were returned on Election Day, Tuesday, or how many cast on time ballots will arrive with the new postmark rule. What we do know is that our current sample of ballots is skewed and too small to be relied on for any definitive results reporting.

At the time of sharing this information, I do not have any additional information about the emerging situation at the elections office or how the current clerk will ensure all votes are processed and accurately counted on time, and importantly that the election is certified by the June 13 statutory deadline. According to the Clackamas County Elections posted returns and results schedule we will not have another update on results until tomorrow, Thursday May 19.

I will share more information as it becomes available. Thank you for voting and for holding our elected officials accountable. Clackamas County voters, I will be on your ballot in November.

Sincerely –

Catherine McMullen, Voter, Certified Elections Administrator, and candidate for Clackamas County Clerk


Published by clackamasvoice

Voter-focused elections administrator and candidate for Clackamas County Clerk