Final Oregon tally due Monday; GMO recount likely

PORTLAND, Ore. — Monday is the deadline for Oregon counties to finish tallying votes and report their final results to the state.

With many counties already done counting, a ballot measure that would require labels for genetically engineered foods appears headed for an automatic recount. Election workers have until 5 p.m. to report.

The latest numbers show Measure 92 trailing by about 1,000 votes out of 1.5 million.

A recount on the food labeling measure would be the first statewide recount since 2008. It would begin after Secretary of State Kate Brown officially certifies the election results. Brown’s spokesman says that’s likely to happen the first week in December.

In another close race, Republican state Sen. Bruce Starr appears to have been defeated by Democrat Chuck Riley, giving Democrats a gain of two seats in the Senate. The race was decided by less than 1 percentage point, but it’s not likely to trigger an automatic recount.

The Democrats also picked up one seat in the House, solidifying their control of the Legislature.

At nearly $30 million, the battle over Measure 92 was by far the costliest campaign in Oregon history. Oregon law requires an automatic recount if the final margin is 0.2 percent or less. The final margin is on track to be well under the recount threshold.

Oregon’s last statewide recount followed the May 2008 election, for a ballot measure that gave law enforcement agencies stronger powers of civil forfeiture. It passed by 681 votes.

Around the country, there were 22 statewide recounts between 2000 and 2012, according to FairVote, a Maryland-based advocacy group. The recounts shifted the final margin by an average of less than 0.03 percent. Three recounts flipped the outcome of the election.

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