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Ballots already mailed inadvertently instruct voters to choose one candidate instead of two

This story has been updated from its original version.

PMG SCREENSHOT - Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan issued the directive to move the West Linn City Council election to March 2023. Instead of voting for two new city councilors in the general election this November, West Linn voters will wait until a special election in March to make their decision.

The office of Oregon Secretary State Shemia Fagan released a directive Oct. 6 explaining that ballots printed for the November election inadvertently instructed voters to select one City Council candidate instead of two.

"Upon learning of the error, the Elections Division met with officials from the City and County to explore solutions," the directive stated. "The Elections Division learned that military and overseas ballots have already been issued, and that it is not possible to reprint the remainder of the ballots and distribute them in the time required by state law."

The Clackamas County elections division will conduct a special election in March for the two open council seats. Votes cast for the West Linn council race on the November ballot will not be counted.

The other West Linn matters on the Nov. 8 ballot — the municipal judge race and a waterline ballot measure — will proceed as normal, according to the secretary of state's office.

The five candidates already running for the two seats — Bill Relyea, Leo Groner, Scott Erwin, Tanner Woody and Jefferson Bunte — will be the only candidates on the March ballot.

"We deeply regret this mistake," West Linn City Manager John Williams said in a press release. "Candidates worked hard to get their campaigns up and running and voters expect to elect city councilors this fall. Unfortunately, delaying the contest is necessary to limit the impact of the error and ensure a fair election for everyone involved. We take this seriously and we are taking steps to ensure it never happens again."

According to the city's press release, the city will take measures to inform voters of the error.

"Voters are strongly encouraged to vote the ballot as they otherwise normally would," the press release stated.

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