As of Friday, November 16, 2018
Look for a State Senate race hand recount.
But not right away.
The race for State Rep. 26 is a close one indeed, but the outcome won’t be official for a few weeks.
As of press time, incumbent Chuck Thomsen (R-Pine Grove) has 29,344 votes to Democrat Chrissy Reitz’s 29,086, according to the latest figures from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.
That’s a slim 258 votes, or 50.15 percent to 49.71 margin — just .44 percent.
By law, any vote result separating candidates by one-half a percentage point or less means an automatic hand recount.
All counties will certify their elections on Nov. 26, and the recount can take place after that. County Deputy Clerk Kim Kean said it will likely happen in early December, after she forms a four-person election board (two pairs of ballot counters).
Kean said she expects the Secretary of State’s office to order her office to recount the Dist. 26 race and, as all counties do as a matter of course, one of the statewide ballot measures.
“This is a very close election. The numbers are always changing,” Kean said. “It just goes to show you every vote counts.”
The gap between Thomsen and Reitz fluctuated between 11 votes and about 500 votes on Nov. 7.
This is the closest local race since the 2009 city gas tax vote, which ended in a tie.Three challenge ballots were cleared that year for tabulation, and the measure passed by two votes.
As additional tabulations are done, each county clerk directly updates the Oregon Secretary of State website. State Sen. Dist. 26 also includes parts of Clackamas and Multnomah counties.
Kean said her office has counted 185 ballots since the Nov. 6 election: A combination of ballots sent to Hood River County from other counties, and ballots that had questions about their signatures. Some 200 letters were mailed Nov. 5-7 to voters whose ballots could not be counted due to incomplete or unclear signatures. A handful of those voters have responded; each of those voters must come to the County Election Office by Nov. 20 to resolve the matter in person or the ballots will not be counted. Second notices went out Nov. 14. No further counting will be done here until after the challenge period on Nov. 20, Kean said.