PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon Republicans have asked for a test re-count of the votes for governor in three Multnomah County precincts, aiming to see whether major irregularities turn up that would warrant a broader re-count.
The Republicans are putting up "a few thousand dollars" for the re-count, to be done Monday. It will involve a token number of ballots — 8,347 in a county that Democrat John Kitzhaber carried by 121,000 on his way to defeating Republican Chris Dudley statewide by 22,000 votes.
Republican State Chairman Bob Tiernan said Wednesday the re-count is a "cheap form of insurance," and if it does turn up major irregularities, the party could seek a wider re-count.
The amount the Republicans are spending is small, too, compared with the $15 million raised for the race, more than $9 million by Dudley.
On election night, the vote from the state's biggest county comes in heavy and late, and the tallies lean heavily to the Democrats.
That happened in the governor's race this year. On election night, Kitzhaber trailed, but his camp went to bed confident they would wake up winners when the Multnomah vote was finally tallied.
Tiernan said that on election night, his Multnomah County elections observers saw elections workers carrying in ballot boxes without seals and spotted an open door to a computer room — raising the possibility of someone hacking into the tally.
"They're just a very loosey-goosey operation, and I think it needs to be tightened up," he said.
Multnomah County spokesman David Austin wouldn't address the specific allegations, but he said the elections staff members are "professionals who do their jobs very well."
"We adhere to all the rules and regulations as mandated by the state," Austin said.
The Democrats' state executive director, Trent Lutz, said he was confident the Multnomah County results would stand up, as is the case in most Oregon re-counts.
Lutz noted, and elections division spokesman Eric Sample confirmed, that in a re-count of six Multnomah precincts earlier this week in the 3rd Congressional District race, more than 10,000 ballots were examined, and two votes were changed.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
By KATU News and Jennifer Meacham KATU.com Staff
PORTLAND, Ore. – The executive director for the Oregon Republican Party, Brandon Danz, has filed a request for a ballot recount . The request came in to the Secretary of State's office at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday afternoon – 15 minutes before the deadline.
"The Oregon Republican Party filed a request for a gubernatorial recount of Multnomah County precincts 1017, 3253 and 3290," writes Oregon Secretary of State Director of Communications Andrea Cantu-Schomus in a memo acquired by KATU. "Multnomah County has scheduled the hand recount to begin Monday December 13, 2010 at 8:30 a.m."
The precincts selected are all over Multnomah County: Northwest, Northeast and on the border between Northeast and Southeast. The Oregon GOP will pay for the recount.
As of Nov. 4 the vote tally for Oregon governor stood at:
Winner Candidate Votes Vote %
X John Kitzhaber 680,443 50%
Chris Dudley 666,523 48%
Greg Kord 19,467 1%
Wes Wagner 17,963 1%
UPDATE: The final, official vote tally from the Secretary of State's office has John Kitzhaber at 716,525 votes and Chris Dudley at 694,287 votes. That leaves a 22,238-vote spread.
According to Willamette Week, the Multnomah County precincts in question represent only about 8,200 ballots cast.
This GOP recount request follows a request from another Multnomah County candidate, Third Congressional District Candidate Delia Lopez, for a limited recount of six precincts in Multnomah County. Lopez also is a Republican.
Her campaign chairman, Lisa Michaels, sent out the following e-mail on Tuesday: "Delia Lopez demanded a partial hand recount of 6 precincts in Multnomah County last Thursday. It is being held [Tuesday] at 8:30 a.m. at 1040 S.E. Morrison at Multnomah County Elections.
"On Friday Delia's campaign volunteer took pictures of the cardboard precinct boxes to be recounted and found something disturbing. The sticker that seals the ballots within the boxes had no signatures on the signature lines and no date written on them either. With plenty of blank ballots – because of the fact that Multnomah county has defied state Law mandating that they destroy all blank ballots at 8 p.m. on election night – and plenty of extra cardboard precinct boxes and stickers, there is no way to determine if our ballots have been tampered with since they were identified on Thursday.
"Delia asked the Secretary of State to have them replace the 6 precincts originally identified with 6 new like-sized precincts but her request was denied. Despite losing by a very large margin the Republican Nominee demanded the partial recount to simply confirm that they had the ballots to back up the machine vote tally."
Lopez came in third out of four candidates for the U.S. Representative OR 3rd District seat. Here were the vote counts in her district as of Nov. 4:
Winner Candidate Votes Vote %
X Earl Blumenauer 165,212 69%
Jeff Lawrence 39,555 17%
Delia Lopez 27,797 12%
Michael Meo 4,962 2%