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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

'Astounding' Number Of Write-Ins In One Oregon County

There was no candidate on the ballot in a race for a position on the Soil and Water Conservation District in Marion County, Oregon, this month. So nearly 8,000 names received write-in votes.

Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess called it an "astounding" number of write-ins. He said while it just takes “maybe 10 to 15 seconds" to deal with each name, it would still add up to more than 21 hours of staff time.

But here's the catch: none of those names actually matter. It turns out an obscure Oregon law requires write-in candidates for soil and water districts to be certified in advance by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. No one did that in this case so the seat will stay vacant for now.

Burgess said that law saved his office countless hours of tallying up names for a seat that apparently no one wants.