The West Linn City Council election for two City Council members must be postponed until March 2023 after yet another preventable ballot error on West Linn voters’ ballots has made the contest invalid.
West Linn Tidings’ Holly Bartholomew writes today, October 6:
“Ballots already mailed inadvertently instruct voters to choose one candidate instead of two.
Instead of voting for two new city councilors in the general election this November, West Linn voters will wait until a special election in March to make their decision.
The office of Oregon Secretary State Shemia Fagan released a directive Oct. 6 explaining that ballots printed for the November election inadvertently instructed voters to select one city council candidate instead of two.
“Upon learning of the error, the Elections Division met with officials from the City and County to explore solutions,” the directive stated. “The Elections Division learned that military and overseas ballots have already been issued, and that it is not possible to reprint the remainder of ballots and distribute them in the time required by state law.”
Catherine McMullen, candidate for County Clerk and a West Linn voter, in an inspection of her own ballot noticed the error earlier in the week and notified the West Linn City Recorder, Clackamas County Elections, State Elections Division, and Mayor Walters via email on Wed. October 5;
“It has come to my attention recently that the West Linn City Councilor election for two open City Councilor positions is listed as “Vote for One” on the November General Election ballot and should be “Vote for Two” according to the West Linn City Charter.
I’m concerned that folks like myself will vote for two City Councilors as allowed by Charter and that will be recorded as an overvote and then not counted. I want to make sure that voters have their votes counted.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please let me know what your guidance will be to West Linn voters.”
While the decision by the Secretary of State to delay the election is disappointing to candidates and voters alike, it is the best course of action to ensure all valid votes can be counted. It is unfortunate that yet another costly error that could have been prevented with basic quality control and preventative measures has slipped by under the current clerk’s supervision.
Catherine McMullen is an experienced elections administrator and will be on your November 8 General Election ballot for Clackamas County Clerk. The Voter Registration Deadline is October 18 for this election and ballots will be mailed out beginning October 19. It is important to vote across your whole ballot and make a choice for County Clerk and other critical local offices.
Catherine urges you to, “note that all other offices and measures on your ballot will be counted, only the race for West Linn City Councilor must be redone in March. Please make sure to vote!“