MultCo Elections: No truth to claims ballots not being counted

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Officials say challenged ballots a part of every election to assure accuracy

An election worker sorts mail-in ballots at the Multnomah County Duniway-Lovejoy Elections Building Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County Elections officials want the public to know that there is no truth to the claims of thousands of ballots not being counted.

As of November 12, 2020, the county elections office has accepted and counted 465,555 ballots from voters for the November 3, 2020 General Election, according to a Multnomah County Elections press release.

The statement said numerous reports of text messages have been sent to voters who are registered as Republicans suggesting that thousands of votes will not be counted.

While officials say the claim is not true, they did clarify that there are currently 3,032 ballots in Multnomah County that have been challenged this election because of signature issues.

“Resolving the issues with challenged ballots is a normal step in every election and one that ensures every possible vote can be counted,” the press release said.

Those ballots were challenged by election workers for one of two reasons:

  • The signature on the return ballot envelope does not match the signature on the voter’s registration record.
  • The voter did not sign the ballot return envelope.

As part of the challenge process, the county elections office sends a written letter to every voter with a challenged ballot “to ensure the voter can resolve any questions about their ballot and keep our elections fair and accurate,” the statement said. Those who have a challenged ballot and who’ve signed up for ballot tracking also received a text message, email or phone call to let them no there’s a problem that requires follow up.

Last week, Multnomah County Elections mailed those letters to all voter whose ballots were challenged in the November 3, 2020 General Election. Officials say the letter gives voters a way to verify their vote either by signing a voter registration card to mail back with an updated signature or with a certified voter statement that is signed and returned so the challenged ballot can be counted, a standard step in every election.

For anyone who has received the challenged ballot letter, it must be returned with a signature to the Multnomah County Elections office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday November 17, 2020 or (14 days after Election Day) in order to cure and count the ballot. Follow the instructions in the letter and mail or deliver the signed form at 1040 SE Morrison St., Portland, Oregon 97214. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,

Officials said they began providing lists of challenged ballots to campaigns and candidates who requested them, as required by law, on November 11, 2020.

Final certification of election results will occur by November 23, 2020.

County elections officials said the text messages reported to them were sent from a non-working number and appeared to have only been sent to voters registered as Republicans.

Voters can contact the Multnomah County Elections Office with questions by calling 503-988-VOTE (8683), emailing elections@multco.us or visiting their website.

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