Supporters of Oregon’s Ballot Measure 92 to require labeling of genetically modified foods conceded defeat Thursday morning. The Yes on 92 Campaign, thwarted in a lawsuit this week challenging the rejection of about 4,600 ballots over signature issues, sent a news release saying that it had concluded it had no other legal options. “Given the razor-thin margin in this race, and the failure to count every valid ballot, we believe that Oregonians will never know for sure what the true outcome of this race was,” the release said. “That said, we intend to abide by the judge’s decision and will not pursue any further legal action.” The measure was the subject of the costliest campaign in state history, with supporters spending more than $8 million and opponents nearly $21 million. The initial results from the Nov. 4 election showed Measure 92 failing by just 812 votes out of more than 1.5 million cast — a margin of just 0.05 percent. Anything under 0.2 percent triggers a recount.
The recount got under way Dec. 2, but as new results began coming in, it was clear the new tally would be extremely close to the first one. Results from Multnomah County, where support for the measure was strongest, were posted Friday afternoon and signaled the measure’s ultimate doom.
Two of Oregon’s 36 counties have yet to post results — Clackamas and Sherman. Recounts in the other 34 turned up an additional 100 yes votes and 89 no votes — for a net shift of 11 votes into the yes column, far too few to overcome the measure’s margin of defeat.
Supporters on Thursday said they were “neither discouraged nor defeated.”