The results of most races in Tuesday’ss election are clear enough to easily declare winners and losers.
But there were five races in Deschutes County involving small districts — things like soil conservation, sewer and water boards of directors — where no candidates filed.
Those results are based on write-ins—whatever voters chose to write in the blank spaces.
County clerks have 20 days to certify election results.
But how do they determine a winner when no one appears on the ballot?
“We still see a few of the Hollywood stars. Jesus and God and my dog and your dog. All kinds of different cartoon characters, some of them I don’t even know who they are,” said Nancy Blankenship, Deschutes County Clerk.
In races in which no candidates filed, results are based entirely on what voters wrote in.
That means ensuring the real people who got the votes are eligible for a position.
Blankenship says that involves checking residency status.
“I have gone through just to double-check that Tom Cruise does not live in Deschutes County, nor does Donald Duck. We just validate that they are voters within the district but, even in a write in race, you don’t have to be a registered voter to win.”
Blankenship says voters often write in their neighbors, their friends, or their own names.
“In one small district there is a person who has won several times and is not even registered to vote but they are willing to do the job,” she said.
The number of write-in votes is typically small and often results in ties between write-in candidates.
Naturally, recounts are conducted, and if the results come back stalemated, outcome a deck of cards from which the candidates draw to determine a winner.
“They each pick a card. So, I’ll pick a card and hold one. So, you have a Jack, I have a five, so you would be the winner. Are you ready for office? I don’t know that I want to work for a small water district.”
Those whose names were written into the five races in which no candidate filed will be notified after June 7 when the election results are scheduled to be certified.
The question then will be, do they actually want to serve? That’s another story for another time.