Start delayed for Day 2 in Portland mayoral vote count

It’s Day 2 of the Portland mayoral race vote count. Because no individual candidate (of the 15 who were on the ballot) received more than 50 percent of the first choice votes counted on Election Day, the second choice votes of lower ranked candidates will be reallocated today throughout several rounds of “instant runoffs” until somebody does cross that 50 percent threshold.

But before we even get to the point at which second choice votes are redistributed, all of the city’s nearly 20,000 ballots cast must be scanned into a computer program, and the accuracy of that scanning must be verified.

A hallway full of reporters at Portland City Hall dispersed just a moment ago after city spokeswoman Nicole Clegg announced elections officials won’t be ready to begin scanning ballots until about 10 a.m.

The process was due to begin this morning at 8 a.m., but because it took much longer Tuesday night to count Election Day votes, consulting firm TrueBallot had to wait until this morning to set their equipment up.

Once that equipment is set up, elections officials must determine it’s all in working order. Then, with five scanners scanning about 2,000 ballots an hour, it’ll take a couple of hours for all the ballots to be entered into the system.

After that, elections officials must cross check a sample of ballots – a significantly sized sample, like perhaps hundreds – to ensure that the circles filled by voters ended up being accurately registered by the ballot counting software.

That process, Clegg said, is likely to take another couple of hours.

So the retabulation, which is likely to be the quickest stage of the whole process, probably won’t begin until after 3 p.m. – and final results won’t be known until after 4 p.m. Maybe as late as 5 p.m.

Using ranked choice voting for the first time, Portland voters could rank candidates from No. 1 all the way through No. 15. This is the first time Portland has popularly elected its mayor since 1923. On Election Day, only first choice votes were counted.

To recap yesterday’s action, Michael Brennan came out of Election Day in the pole position. He claimed 5,240 first place votes, followed by fellow former state senator Ethan Strimling at 4,390 first place votes and current City Council-elected mayor Nicholas Mavodones.

Coming in fourth with the first choice votes counted was city councilor David Marshall, with 1,516 votes, and in fifth is consultant Jed Rathband, with 1,394.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

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