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Clackamas County finds misplaced ballots

HALLClackamas County elections officials announced Friday that a box containing 341 ballots — including some from Multnomah and Washington counties — was discovered last week during a final inventory of election equipment.

Officials determined that the ballots were received before the 8 p.m. deadline for receiving ballots in the May 17 election and are valid. They were returned to the appropriate jurisdictions on June 16, and after consultation with the Secretary of State, all of the ballots were counted and official elections results were amended to reflect the new vote totals.

The newly-counted ballots did not affect the outcome of any race or ballot measure, officials said.

“I am sorry that this error occurred. But once it was discovered, we acted immediately to notify the affected counties and worked through the Secretary of State to resolve this issue,” said Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall. “None of the election results were adversely affected and the election results in all three counties have been amended.”

Clackamas County elections officials are investigating how the oversight occurred and said it was likely that a box was placed in the wrong location. New measures are being put into place to ensure there is clearer documentation of ballot inventories and that all ballot boxes are inventoried and counted as they are received, officials said.

Last week’s revelation is the latest in a series of controversies that have occurred under Hall’s watch: a 2012 temporary employee who was caught tampering with ballots; misprinted ballots in 2010 leading to an expensive reprint; a typo in May 2014 listing the “Democrat Party” instead of the “Democratic Party”; and a September 2014 accusation from Clackamas County Democrats that all marriage licenses given in the county since same-sex marriage became legal earlier in the year might be invalid because Hall chose to sign them with a stamp instead of a signature.

Hall, a registered Republican, has been county clerk since she was first elected to the nonpartisan office in 2002.

— The Review