Clackamas County ballot tally timeline remains uncertain

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Three weeks after Oregon’s third-largest county learned that a majority of their ballots had blurry barcodes and unreadable by vote-counting machines, state officials have received a timeline from the county as frustrations continue to grow and the results of a key U.S. House race hangs in the balance.

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan met with Clackamas County’s top election officials on Monday and was provided with a verbal update on the county’s progress in processing ballots.

“I continued to push them and will continue to push them to provide a written plan with regular benchmarks so that I, you and the public can confirm that they are on track to produce timely results,” Fagan said during a news conference Tuesday.

The Bend Bulletin reports Fagan is expected to release details to the public once her office reviews the plan.

RELATED: Oregon blurry ballot issues known 2 weeks before election

RELATED: Oregon primary election results

The race for the U.S. House seat from Oregon’s 5th district remains in the balance. Terrebonne attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner is leading incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader by about 18% for the Democratic nomination, a margin that has decreased since election night. On the Republican side, Lori Chavez-Deremer has seen her lead increase over Jimmy Crumpacker to a 13% gap.

As many as 60,000 ballots were unreadable by vote-counting machines because of blurry barcode. The voter’s intent must be transferred by hand to a new ballot in each instance.

The Associated Press reported that the issue was known as far back as May 3 — two weeks before the election. Clackamas County Elections Clerk Sherry Hall said it was too late, at that point, to print and mail new ballots. Fagan’s office reportedly offered Hall extra help when the problem was revealed, but Hall said she had enough resources.

The Associated Press and Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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