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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.

Recount Of Oregon Food Labeling Measure Underway

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Elections workers in Salem hand-count Marion County ballots.

The first statewide recount in more than six years is underway in Oregon. Elections workers Tuesday started hand-counting the more than 1.5 million votes cast for and against Measure 92.

The initiative would require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. It failed in the initial tally by just 812 votes. That triggered a state-funded recount.

In Salem, Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess has a team of about 50 temporary workers combing through ballots. He said the counters found just one correction to make during the first three hours on the job.

"Finding things like that is, I expect, going to be very rare,” Burgess said. “But we won't know until we get it all done."

Observers from both the "no" and "yes" campaigns were on hand to watch. Counties have until the end of next week to complete the job.