With all three Lane County Commissioner races tantalizingly close, candidates and voters will have to wait for elections staff to finish hand-processing the final ballots—which are still arriving by mail.
The last count on Election Night showed Ryan Ceniga leading Dawn Lesley by 189 votes, David Loveall leading Joe Berney by 163 votes, and Heather Buch leading Kyle Blain by 483 votes.
The differences between the candidates represent less than 1 percent of all voters in the West commissioner district, just over 1 percent in the Springfield district, and less than 3 percent of all voters in the East commissioner district.
The Lane County Elections Office is continuing to receive ballots postmarked by Election Day, May 17. Nearly 2,000 ballots were picked up from the Post Office on May 18 and more ballots are expected in the coming days.
The new law that allows ballots postmarked by Election Day (and received by the Elections Office within a week) helps makes voting in Oregon even more accessible and helps support the democratic process throughout our state.
Due to the postmark law changes, the Lane County Elections Office must process ballots delivered by the Post Office after Election Day by hand. This is a labor intensive process and requires the utmost attention to detail for our small staff.
Lane County Elections will be conducting its normal post-election work such as reviewing overvotes for voter intent, write-ins, signature challenge review and more.
At the same time, Lane County Elections staff will continue processing postmarked ballots as they come in, including verifying signatures and preparing them for tallying, over the next two days. It is critical to be methodical during this process to ensure every vote is counted.
The next update on election results will be provided by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 20.
This is a new process for Lane County voters who are used to receiving election results updates more frequently. We appreciate their patience and support of ensuring our local elections process is secure, transparent and accurate.
In Oregon, a full recount occurs automatically when two candidates receive the same number of votes, or when the difference is less than one-fifth of one percent.
Candidates can also request a recount up to 35 days after election day. The Secretary of State website offers form SEL 800, Demand for Recount.
Sources: https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_258.280, https://www.lanecounty.org/news/what_s_new/lane_county_elections_update, https://results.oregonvotes.gov/ResultsSW.aspx?type=CTYALL&cty=09&map=CTY