CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. — Clackamas County reports that about 35,000 ballots need to be hand-duplicated and counted to finish tallying votes from the May 17 primary election, with progress expected to slow over Memorial Day weekend.
County Clerk Sherry Hall has estimated that staff will finish the process by Thursday, June 2, but it has not been reported how many actual ballots election workers are duplicating each day.
The county is trying to fix a ballot printing error in which most of the May primary election ballots were printed with blurred barcodes, making them unreadable by vote counting machines.
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan's office provided Clackamas County benchmarks to reach on Wednesday.
According to the accountability progress report, the county exceeded the number of ballots that were expected to be counted and reported on Wednesday and Thursday, adding the results of nearly 20,000 ballots to the online totals.
However, many of those ballots didn’t require duplication.
Now, nearly all of the 35,000 ballots remaining to be counted need to be duplicated by hand — which takes longer — and the county is not reporting how many ballots it’s been able to duplicate each day.
A spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office said they’re also asking county officials for this information.
The county's reports say that the total number of ballots needing duplication dropped from 44,115 to 34,963 between Wednesday and Thursday, which would imply the county duplicated about 9,000 ballots in one day.
However, earlier in the week, the number of ballots needing duplication actually increased on the Clackamas County website — from 38,381 to 44,115 — illustrating the uncertainty and opacity of this process.
Without Clackamas County providing information on how many ballots workers are duplicating each day, it's difficult to project if the county could indeed finish before the targeted end date of June 2.
Additionally, Clackamas County expects to have about a third of the number of teams working to fix this problem over the weekend due to the holiday, compared to the number of teams used to process and count ballots this week. That reduction in workforce could slow down progress.
To date, Clackamas County has tallied and reported about 70% of the 116,045 ballots it received in the latest election.
Both Clackamas County officials and Fagan's office turned down interview requests Friday.