Senate Republicans announced today they will pay for a recount in the closely contested Senate District 3 (Ashland) race.
The most recent results posted by Secretary of State Kate Brown's
elections division show incumbent Sen. Alan Bates
(D-Ashland) defeating challenger Dave Dotterrer
by 275 votes out of 48,884 cast. Brown's .56 percent margin over Dotterer is more than the .2 percent difference that would trigger an automatic recount. Bates' apparent victory, which came late in the vote-count, allowed Democrats to claim a 16-14 margin and retain control of their chamber.
Here's a statement the Senate Republicans released today:
SALEM, OR – Based on the possibility that more than 320 ballots cannot be accounted for in Senate District 3, Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day), in his role as an official of the Oregon Republican Party, has announced his intention to request a recount of the ballots cast in the 2010 General Election. The outcome of this race will not only determine control of the Oregon State Senate, bu will also play a role in redistricting the state of Oregon, the effects of which will be felt for more than a decade.
“The fact that no one can account for all of the ballots cast in Senate District 3 is very troubling,” said Ferrioli. “The outcome of this race is critical to all Oregonians and we will fight to make sure the election is decided fairly.”
The Senate Republicans have made multiple requests to both the Jackson County Clerk and the Secretary of State for an accurate and full accounting of the votes cast in Senate District 3. Based on different reports pulled from the Oregon Central Voter Registration (OCVR) System there appear to be more than 320 ballots that were reported as returned by the Secretary of State but do not show up in any of the results in Jackson County.
“This is the second statewide election for this system but the first time we have really had a close race which highlighted the problems,” said Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) who has been leading this effort for the Senate Republicans. “After multiple public records requests we still cannot get an accurate accounting of this election and that is unacceptable.”
Between the time ballots are mailed and Election Day the Secretary of State releases a daily list, by name, of those who have turned in ballots. The last publically available report was released November 3rd. The list contains 99% of the votes per the Secretary of State. According to that list 50,434 people returned ballots in Senate District 3. However, according to reports pulled by the Jackson County Clerk and the Secretary of State from OCVR only 50,105 ballots can be accounted for from the 99% report.
The recount cannot be requested until December 2nd and since the difference in vote totals is greater than two-tenths of one percent, Senate Republicans, not taxpayers, will pay for the cost of the recount. While the legislature convenes for an organizational session in January, its real work will not start until February 1st allowing plenty of time to make sure the results from this election are accurate.
Updated at 2:51 pm with a statement from Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum
“It is clear from the certified results from Jackson County that Senator Alan Bates won re-election.
“While the Senate Republicans are entitled to pay for a recount, their premature request for a recount is disappointing news. They are ignoring both the process and the facts.
“First, the Secretary of State has not finished her normal certification process for the election. Additionally, the Secretary of State has repeatedly and clearly explained how every eligible ballot is counted. The decision by the Senate Republicans today shows they have decided to ignore those facts.
“With so many pressing issues facing the state, it's disappointing that the Republicans have decided to demand a recount. This activity will distract our state's leaders from the real job at hand: getting our economy back on track and helping Oregon's families.”