A new election will likely be held between District 5 candidates Lianne Thompson and Dale Barrett after a ballot error affected nearly 500 voters in Tuesdays election for the Clatsop County commissioner position.
Clatsop County Clerk Maeve Grimes said Thursday she expects to formally contest the race by filing a petition in Clatsop County Circuit Court. A judge will have to decide whether the petition is cause for a new election and when it should be held.
Grimes will not make her decision to file until after the final election results are certified, which must be done by June 20.
The ballot error has been attributed to the redrawing of district boundaries in 2011. According to the Clatsop County Clerk and Elections Office, the alteration caused part of Precinct 38 in Seaside to be placed in District 5 and the rest in District 2, which covers Gearhart, Clatsop Plains and part of Seaside.
The discrepancy caused 344 voters living in District 5 to receive ballots that did not list the race between Thompson and Barrett. In addition, 147 voters who do not live in the district had the District 5 contest on their ballots.
The county has counted 60 incorrect ballots from Tuesdays primary election that included several statewide races. Thompson led Barrett by just 99 votes for the District 5 race after the final unofficial count.
Grimes said she is planning to contest the district race because voters did not have an opportunity to participate in the District 5 election.
We need to give those voters an opportunity to vote, she said.
Grimes said of the 60 incorrect ballots, 27 voters submitted ones that had District 5 when they should have been listed in District 2, which is represented by Commissioner Sarah Nebeker and wont be up for re-election until 2016. The error also resulted in 33 not having the race between Thompson and Barrett on their ballot when they should have been, since they were part of District 5.
The Oregon Secretary of States office was contacted after the error was discovered on Monday, Grimes said. The mistake was brought to the attention of the clerks office by two voters. By Tuesday morning, a total of 42 incorrect ballots had been received.