EUGENE — The vote counting goes on — and on, and on — in a judicial race in Lane County.
And it is expected to go on until at least Monday, as election crews tally the write-in votes on 38,000 ballots by hand.
A recently appointed sitting judge, Jay McAlpin, missed the filing deadline for the Circuit Court position, so he and four lawyers launched write-in campaigns, the Eugene Register-Guard reported.
When the votes came in last week, about 130,000 voters hadn’t marked anything on the ballot for Circuit Court Judge Position 7, but 38,000 voters had filled in names.
Scanners can’t handle that chore, so six four-person vote-counting crews are tallying the results in the judicial race.
The counters can set aside the obviously spurious votes — for the Oregon Duck and the like.
But everybody else who got a vote, even just one, will be listed. The results are expected to run for “pages and pages,” said Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart.
“Everyone has fun writing in their neighbor or their friend, but the reality is that it translates into a lot of work,” she said.
Ordinarily, write-in votes aren’t individually tallied, Betschart said. Exceptions are when the number of write-in votes is greater than the number cast for the leading candidate on the ballot, or if no candidate files for a position.
Betschart said the election workers are expected to have about 35,000 votes tallied by Friday, and partial results may be made public then.
She said the remaining 3,000 votes may be tallied by Monday. They are on ballots dropped off in other counties, or ballots that were unsigned or have other signature issues.
Betschart said there’s no estimate yet of what the count will cost.