November 29, 2009
Just 4 votes …
If just two voters had voted “no” instead of “yes” … or if four “yes” voters had decided not to vote at all in the recall election, Ann Samuelson might still have her job as District 5 Commissioner of Clatsop County, Oregon.
Instead she lost the citizen-driven recall and was removed from office. The final tally was 1013 “yes” and 1009 “no” votes. There were three undervotes in this race, where voters chose not to express an opinion on Samuelson’s recall. There were no undervotes in the other recall election on the Oct. 27, 2009 ballot.
This election clearly demonstrates the importance of each and every vote — and also shows why paper ballots are crucial in such close elections.
The four-vote margin triggered an automatic hand recount of the paper ballots . The original machine tally was conducted on the ES&S M-650 optical scanner. That machine tally was verified by the hand count of the paper ballots and certified on November 10, 2009. The certified results of the recount are posted on the County Clerk’s website: http://www.co.clatsop.or.us/Assets/Dept_2/PDF/Recount%20Canvass%20of%20Votes%2011-10-09.pdf
Samuelson’s colleague Jeff Hazen easily survived the Oct. 27 recall election with 1251 voting “no”and 978 “yes”. [Source: http://www.co.clatsop.or.us/Assets/Dept_2/PDF/Final%20Official%20Report%2010-27-09.pdf%5D
The hot-button issue that triggered the citizen recall effort was the commissioners’ vote in favor of a controversial siting of a LNG terminal at Bradwood Landing near the mouth of the Columbia River. The commissioners voted to approve the LNG siting despite a previous 67% “no” vote on a county-wide referendum on LNG related pipelines in parks — the county commissioners were accused of ignoring widespread citizen opposition to the LNG facility siting.
There is another county commission recall election in Clatsop county set for December 8. This time the target is District 2 Commissioner Patricia Roberts.
Will this be another cliffhanger like Samuelson’s or an easy win like Hazen’s? Only time — and the voters — will tell. Stay tuned. The LNG issue evokes strong feelings among voters on both sides of the controversy.