PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Polls closed for voters in the Newberg School District recall election of board chair Dave Brown and board member Brian Shannon.

As of 2 p.m., about 49% of eligible voters had already cast their ballot to determine the fate of Brown and Shannon. Very early results show a close vote total.

Newberg School Board Recall Election Results

Yamhill County Clerk Brian Van Bergen, January 18, 2022 (KOIN)

But the results likely won’t be known for days, at least. Yamhill County Clerk Brian Van Bergen told KOIN 6 News they go through each step of the voted ballots manually — checking each signature on the envelope, opening the outer envelope, pulling out the ballot, and so forth — so the process is time-consuming.

Van Bergen said it will take “7 days for the post office to get their stuff to us and then 14 days to cure any signature issues after that. And then we have to wait for those results to come from the other two counties to add up. So short story long, at least 22 days from today before we really know” the final vote count.

Beginning at 8 p.m., the updated vote totals will be posted to their website about every 2 hours, Van Bergen said.

There are 25,061 voters living within the Newberg School District.

Newberg School Board members Brian Shannon, left, Dave Brown (Newberg Graphic)

The recall effort took off once the Newberg School Board voted 4-3 to fire Superintendent Joe Morelock without cause. Morelock was under contract through June 30, 2024.

Both Brown — who initiated the motion to fire Morelock — and Shannon were elected to the 7-member board in 2019.

Kristen Stoller, a small business owner with a student in Newberg schools, was a volunteer on the recall effort.

“Regardless (of how the vote turns out) we have a lot of healing to do as a community,” she told KOIN 6 News. “Collaborative problem-solving education, engagement from the community beyond this recall is what’s going to be required for us to put our focus back on kids and learning.”

“This will be the first election in Oregon where postmarks will count.”

— Yamhill county clerk brian van bergen

The Newberg Graphic reports chief petitioner in the recall effort, Newberg resident Zach Goff, said Brown and Shannon should be recalled for myriad reasons, including championing a ban of political symbols in school classrooms, the hiring of supplemental legal counsel, potential violations of state public meetings laws and misusing district funds.

Though the Newberg School District is in Yamhill County, some students enrolled in the district live in Washington and Clackamas counties. Van Bergen notified those counties and then the Oregon Secretary of State about the plans for the recall once the petition was certified.

Local ballots were mailed on January 5. Yamhill County mailed roughly 26,000 ballots, Van Bergen said, with Clackamas County distributing around 600 ballots and Clackamas County 300 ballots.

Once the ballots are cast, the count will proceed just as it does during any primary or general election. Van Bergen said the time frame for finishing the count should be similar to that of November’s general election — a few days.

“This will be the first election in Oregon where postmarks will count,” Van Bergen said. “One of the many legislative changes that took effect (Jan. 1) is the fact that if you mail your ballot in time for it to receive a postmark on election day or sooner, and the post office gets that ballot to us by the seventh day after election day, then we are to accept that ballot as being “timely.”

The new law also pushes all post-election deadlines out a week.

“Last year a voter had 14 days to cure their signature problems, now you have 21 days,” he said. “So, we will have nearly everything done on election night as normal, but we won’t have final numbers until 22 days later, at the earliest.”

Van Bergen said much of this is new territory for him.

“I’ve been serving for nine years and it’s been nearly 12 years since we had the last recall in Yamhill County,” he said.

Pamplin Media Group is a media partner with KOIN 6 News.