A Multnomah County judge on Tuesday rejected an effort by supporters of Ballot Measure 92 to prevent the state from certifying the results of a recount. Judge Henry Kantor denied supporters’ request, as part of a lawsuit filed Monday, for a temporary restraining order. That leaves the Secretary of State’s Office on track to certify results from a recount early next week. Most counties have finished their recounts — with no sign of changing the measure’s failure in the Nov. 4 election — and the rest have been asked to turn in results by Friday. Supporters of the measure to require labeling of genetically modified foods argued in the lawsuit that the state and Multnomah County unfairly rejected about 4,600 valid ballots because the signatures on the ballots didn’t match voter card signatures on file. Because the GMO labeling measure failed by just 812 votes out of 1.5 million cast — and is headed for a similar result in the recount — supporters argued that the ballots could change the outcome.
With the restraining order denied, supporters’ only remaining option to change the outcome is to file a formal challenge of the election with the Marion County Court. If that process led to a ruling that the signature-checking process was invalid, all votes in the Nov. 4 election for or against Measure 92 would be nullified.
“We are certainly disappointed with the ruling as we feel strongly that those 4,600 votes are valid and should be counted,” said Paige Richardson, manager of the Yes on 92 campaign. “Oregonians will never know the true outcome of this election.”
When asked whether she plans to file an election challenge, Richardson said the campaign is considering its options.
Overall, 13,000 ballots were identified by the state as having signature issues. The state alerted voters of the issue by letter and set a deadline of two weeks for them to fix the problems. About 8,600 voters responded.