Clackamas County's elections division has experienced an equipment malfunction that will require repairs overnight.
According to a statement issued at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, by County Clerk Sherry Hall's office, a short while ago, county elections workers discovered that the office's envelope opener was malfunctioning. Technicians are gathering parts, and the machine is expected to be repaired overnight and ready for operation when ballot processors return Wednesday morning. If not, they'll begin opening ballots by hand.
"Our office is still on track to release initial results at or shortly after 8 p.m. tonight," the statement said. "Approximately 165,000 ballots will be included in that count, which is what we expected to release today."
Hall clarified in an email to county public information officer Kimberly Dinwiddie and provided to Pamplin Media that while the envelope machine allows elections workers to operate much more safely and efficiently, it is not essential to the electoral process.
"The opener is a machine to open envelopes in bulk. It cuts the top part of the envelope open so election workers can extract the contents easily without any damage," Hall wrote. "Ballot processors were scheduled to work till 5 p.m. and then go home. All will be back at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow and continue through Friday when the count should be complete. This is the same schedule we worked in May when we finished that count on Thursday following Election Day."
The county's original statement said that the envelope opener received preventative maintenance on Sept. 30 when nothing was found to be wrong with it.
According to the county, the machine is not connected to ballot readers and therefore hasn't affected any ballots.
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