What Happens to Unused Ballots

Did You Know . . .

  • Until 2013, a long standing Oregon law directed county clerks to destroy all unused ballots immediately after 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. County clerks routinely ignored this law – as instructed by the Secretary of State. In the 2013 Legislative Session, HB 2199 modified the requirement to provide a stricter accounting of all ballots that are printed and destroy unused ballots as soon as practical.
  • When voting machines cannot count a ballot, a duplicate will be made from an unused ballot.  This can run into thousands of duplicate ballots during an election cycle.

What You Can Do…

  • Participate on an Election Count Monitoring Team. Demand that the legislature hold the Secretary of State and election officials accountable for securing ballots.
  • Observe duplication of ballots.
  • Demand that election officials cease duplicating original ballots and hand-count ballots that the machines are incapable of reading.
  • Participate in a Public Test. Observe testing of computers and software used to count ballots.

Join the Team . . . The more people that are helping with this effort, the more effective and louder our voice will be.

Join Now!


Information Regarding Discrepancies After the Close of the Election

Unused Ballots + Inadequate Electronic Security = Potential for Election Security Breach.  See Report by Andrew Nesbit and Robert McCulloch –> Multnomah Election Security

Wording of the Law: ORS 254.483 (2013):

Destruction of Unused Ballots:
(1) Each county clerk is responsible for the safekeeping, disposition and security of all ballots.
(2) As soon as practicable after the final day permitted for a contest of the election or for filing a demand for a recount, the county clerk shall destroy all unused ballots. [Formerly 254.475; 2007 c.154 §43; 2013 c.679 §2]

Related Legislation in 2013

HB 2199  Full Measure Text   Removes requirement to destroy unused ballots at 8:00 p.m. on election night adding other security requirements to make unused ballots more secure and accountable.

HB 3344 Full Measure Text This bill extends the time for elector to verify challenged ballots from 10 days to 14 days and obtain the names of voters who cast ballots whose eligibility to vote is in question.

Oregon lawmakers reject GOP effort to limit unused ballots at elections offices

Informational Video on the History of Unused Ballots

Ruth Bendl and Jeff Kropf Discuss the Law Regarding Unused Ballots