Portland elections officials missed box of ballots during Day 2 scanning

Portland city attorney Mary Costigan said elections officials missed a cardboard box of 385 ballots earlier today when scanning the ballots in as part of the Day 2 mayoral vote count.

The extra ballots were not in the signature red boxes used to hold all the others, and were thus passed over when elections officials went back into the vault earlier to bring ballots to the scanners.

The extra ballots are being scanned in now.

The ballots were included in the Election Day count, Costigan said. Using ranked choice voting for the first time, Portland voters could rank the mayoral candidates from No. 1 to No. 15 if they so chose. Only first choice votes were counted on Election Day, however, leaving Portlanders to wait through a painstaking Day 2 process in which second choice votes on the ballots cast for lower ranked candidates are reallocated among the higher ranked candidates.

With the hiccup now being fixed, still most of the elections officials working here in the State of Maine Room at City Hall are reviewing ballot scans. Teams of three or four reviewers are set up at computer work stations looking at images of ballots (scanned in earlier today) overlaid with a grid depicting what the vote counting software believes those ballots say.

If enough ballots pass the eyeball test for the reviewers to feel confident in the software’s accuracy, they’ll move on to the retabulation process. That may not begin for another couple of hours, but it’ll be the quickest of all the steps taken today (for a review of those steps, go read past blog posts).

Only after that will we know for sure who the first popularly elected Portland mayor since 1923 will be. With first choice votes counted on Election Day, Michael Brennan carries a lead into the Day 2 counts, followed by Ethan Strimling and Nicholas Mavodones.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.