Clackamas County board races head to November runoffs
It's unofficially official: Voters will have to wait until November to determine future occupants of two key seats on the Clackamas County commission.
County Commissioners Sonya Fischer and Paul Savas are both seeking another four years in office starting next year. Their reelection campaigns received the highest percentages of the May 17 count in each race, but neither incumbent candidate earned the 50% necessary to avoid November runoffs.
On June 1, Clackamas County announced it had processed "nearly all main ballots" and turned its focus to processing overseas and military ballots, along with precinct-committee-persons tallies. By the end of the county elections office's business hours on June 2, there were less than 1,000 ballots countywide left to count. Given the current unofficial election results, both Fischer and Savas will be short of the necessary 50% even if all remaining ballots are in their favor.
Delayed election results followed County Clerk Sherry Hall's announcement last month that an unknown number of ballots printed for the May 17 primary election had blurred barcodes. With the election office's ballot-printing fiasco, only 42% of the ballots had been counted by May 22, four days after the election.
Earlier counted ballots skewed heavily to Republican voters, due to the printing error disproportionately affecting Democratic ballots. As votes were slowly counted, Fischer's challenger Ben West went from having what appeared at times to be more than 50% to now about 37% for West and 48% for Fischer.
Libra Forde, who is challenging Savas in a separate county board race, appeared to have 16.9% after the first few days of ballot counting, but Forde's share ended up nearly equal to Savas. As of June 3, Forde had 36%, and Savas had 36.8%.
Final tallies are due to be certified on June 13.
West is a Wilsonville city councilor and nurse who previously ran as a Republican for Congress. Fischer is an attorney and former legislative director in her first full term on the board after being appointed in 2017.
Savas is business owner who is seeking his fourth term in office as a county commissioner since winning the office in 2010. Forde is a nonprofit leader and chair of the North Clackamas School Board.
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