This information was updated in May 2014 using the 2013 Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS).
Note: The website of the Oregon Secretary of State includes the elections statutes and allows one to link to individual chapters containing multiple statutes. The citations below will retrieve the entire text of the chapter. The Oregon election statutes are available at: http://sos.oregon.gov/elections/Pages/laws-rules.aspx
Signed into law in 2007 and updated in 2009, Oregon's audit law, ORS 254.529, can lead to a full recount and, if it does, is binding upon the official results.
In addition, the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) allow for “administrative recounts.” While the rules refer to these as recounts, they are primarily post-election audits conducted at the discretion of the county elections official or by a directive from the Secretary of State Elections Division. Administrative recounts provide “a mechanism for selective recounts to confirm the accuracy of the automated vote tally systems used to count ballots.” The results of administrative recounts are not binding on the official results. See OAR 165-007-0270.
Statutes specify that audits must be conducted publicly
Statutes require that audit results and data be made public
No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks
While candidates and sponsors of ballot measures are notified by mail of the audit, there are no provisions specifying if they are allowed appointed observers, or their ability to observe and verify ballot marks. See OAR 165-007-0290(6) and (7).
Results of the audit are to be made publicly available on the Secretary of State's website. See ORS 254.529(5).
Paper ballot (optical scanners, hand counted paper ballots, or a mix)
For more details, visit Verified Voting.
Audit results binding upon official results
If a third hand count is conducted for the audit (see Addressing Discrepancies, below), the results of the audit are the official results of the election. See ORS 254.529(7)(d). However, administrative recounts conducted under OAR 165-007-0270 are not binding on the official results.
Statutes specify criteria to expand the audit (up to a full recount)
If the audit of the initial sample identifies a discrepancy of greater than 0.5%, the random sample is audited by hand again. If this second audit shows a discrepancy equal to or less than 0.5%, the initial tally is the official result.
If the second audit still shows a discrepancy greater than 0.5%, all ballots for that vote tally system are to be audited, and the result of this final manual count is the official result. See ORS 254.529(7)(d).
Absentee ballots included in the audit
Provisional ballots included in the audit
No statutory guidance for ballots counted by hand on election day to be included in audit
Oregon is a vote-by-mail state. The state also uses absentee ballots for military voters or for those voters out of state during an election, and it issues provisional ballots. Provisional and absentee ballots are not specifically mentioned in the audit provisions; however, according to the office of the Oregon Secretary of State, where vote tally systems are used, these ballots are included in the audit.
No statutory guidance for additional targeted samples
Predetermined election contests or ballot issues are audited
Local election contests audited
Statewide election contests audited
Federal election contests audited
Audits in Oregon are for general elections only.
Up to three contests are audited:
1. “... the election contest between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the county”
2. A statewide office; and
3. When applicable, a state ballot measure.
See ORS 254.529(3).
The size of the random sample (of either precincts or batches of ballots in a county) depends on the margin of victory between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the county. If it is less than 1% of the total votes cast in the election in that county, at least 10% of all precincts or ballots are to be audited; if between 1 and 2%, at least 5% of all precincts or ballots are to be audited; and if more than 2%, at least 3% must be audited. See ORS 254.529(2).
To be eligible for the random sample, a precinct must have at least 150 ballots cast in the election.
See ORS 254.529(3).
Hand count only
See ORS 254.529(1).
Oversight and Conduct of Audit:
The Secretary of State oversees the audit and conducts the random selection, while county clerks conduct the audit. See ORS 254.529(1) and (3).
Timeline for Audit:
The audit must begin no later than the 21st day after the election, and be completed within 30 days after the election. See ORS 254.529(5).
According to Subsection (8) of OAR 165-007-0290, the manual audit cannot begin until after certification of the initial election results.