Judge: No added ballots for Measure 92 recount
Denies request by supporters to include challenged votes in new tally due by Friday.
About 4,600 contested ballots will not be added to the current recount involving Measure 92, which would require labeling of food sold in Oregon containing genetically modified organisms.
Judge Henry Kantor denied the request by Measure 92 supporters after a hearing Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Supporters filed suit Monday, arguing that county elections officials erred in excluding the 4,600 ballots on the basis that the signatures on the return envelopes did not match those on their registration cards.
The suit contended that some voters were not notified of the discrepancies in signatures, and others did not have a chance to explain to officials that disabilities or mental problems may have affected their signatures.
Oregon has used mail ballots for all elections starting in 2000.
The denial of a temporary restraining order allows a recount to proceed, although about two-thirds of Oregons 36 counties including Multnomah County, the states most populous have already completed their recount. Secretary of State Kate Brown ordered the recount Nov. 24 after tallies showed Measure 92 failing by 812 votes of 1.5 million cast, well within the 3,000 required under law to trigger an automatic recount.
The recount so far has resulted in little change in the initial results, although both sides gained votes.
Brown has set a completion deadline of Friday.
Recounts in three previous statewide races dating back to 1992 have not reversed the initial results of the election. Two involved candidates, and one in 2008 involved a ballot measure.
Oregon voters rejected a similar measure in 2002.
Similar ballot measures failed in California in 2012, Washington in 2013, and Colorado on Nov. 4. Vermont has such a requirement, but it is being challenged in federal court.