BEND, OR -- The May Primary was more than two weeks ago, but the Deschutes County Clerk's office is still counting ballots. The winner of the Republican nomination for Oregon's House District 53 remains undetermined. On May 15, Redmond realtor Jack Zika had a scant 11-vote lead over political activist Ben Schimmoller.
County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says an observed count of challenged or late ballots will take place Thursday and Friday, including ballots delivered from other counties and write-in votes. But, Blankenship tells KBND News, that's not the end of the process, "We must certify the election first. If the number of votes is still within the percent for a recount, we'll do an automatic recount." That certification is expected by Monday.
Blankenship says they'll then look at the total number of ballots cast, "You take the number of votes for each candidate, and then whatever 1/5 of 1% is, anything less than that would be in the range for a recount, so it depends on how many more votes they receive and if it changes those percentages."
The Republican winner will take take on Democrat Eileen Kiely in November, to take over the State House seat currently held by retiring Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver).