Clackamas County accelerates efforts to swiftly count every vote

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Update - May 23, 2022

County Administrator Gary Schmidt appointed Deputy Elections Administrator

Clackamas County is committed to ensuring every vote is counted and to build public trust through transparency.

At the direction of the Board of County Commissioners, the county is establishing systems to ensure the County Elections Office counts every vote by the state certification deadline of June 13 or earlier. This is in response to thousands of flawed barcodes on ballots that require duplication and a higher than expected voter turnout.

On May 20, 2022, Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall appointed Clackamas County Administrator Gary Schmidt as Deputy Elections Administrator. This appointment will streamline deploying county resources to support the election and ensure transparent information is available to residents and candidates. 

Here is how the county is taking charge to complete the May 2022 primary election.

Established Elections Support Center

A team of county employees is dedicated to the logistics of completing this election and providing transparent, clear communication with the community.

This work consist of scheduling ballot processors including county employees, representatives of the Oregon Secretary of State’s office and other counties and logistics such as security, supplies, facilities and finance. 

Providing transparency to community members and candidates about this unprecedented elections process is also a priority. Members of this team are working to ensure daily election result updates online and to provide answers to the community and media’s questions.

Reassigning county employees and hiring ballot processors from partner agencies

Administrator Schmidt’s first duty was to assemble a qualified staff of up to 200 county employees, so far, to help process flawed election ballots.

This is an all hands on deck situation. Essential county services such as public safety, health and social services, emergency services, and other critical services will continue, however, other work is paused or slowed so we can have as many people focus on the election results.

We are grateful for the assistance from the Secretary of State’s office to support ballot-processing efforts. Additional counties are also offering support and the county will accept that help. We will provide more details as they become available.

Currently, the county is processing ballots daily from 7 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. There is capacity for 80 people to work each shift.

Ballot processing update

Here is an update of ballot processing efforts as of May 21, 2022.

How many people are working today to process ballots?

May 21, we had about 50 people total.

How many ballots have been processed?

As of May 20, - 31,979 ballots have been processed. 4,637 ballots were processed on May 20 alone.

How many ballots have been received?

The most recent reported number is 113,448.

What work is happening in the ballot processing rooms today?

Today people continue to open ballots, separate them by ballot type and scan ballots and verification of any discrepancies such as write-ins. We are preparing to continue duplicating after we open more ballots. Duplicating work could begin Monday if not earlier.

When will the county have a timeline for when all votes are counted?

We expect to announce a timeline Monday.

When will results be updated? 

Results are updated every day by 8 p.m. As part of the county’s new support of the election, we will strive to ensure clear and transparent totals of how many ballots have been processed and received each day.

We are currently building a new website to provide this information. The County Clerk’s office will also post unofficial results nightly.