OR-1: Election Night Open Thread - Bonamici Wins!

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Well, in just a few short hours, the polls will close in Oregon's First Congressional District - and in a matter of minutes, we'll know who has won.

That's right, out-of-state observers, because of Oregon's unique vote-by-mail system, we often know the results very, very quickly. Voters have been voting for nearly three weeks. The county elections staff have been processing ballots very nearly as long. That means that the initial release of numbers at 8:02 p.m. or thereabouts will include a very big chunk of the total vote.

Now, it's true that in statewide races that are very close (Merkley '08, Kitzhaber '10), the last-minute flood of votes into Multnomah County tends to overwhelm staff there - and so we see artificially low numbers for Democrats early, and then a late surge on Wednesday when the ballot backlog is cleared.

But OR-1 only has a small portion of Multnomah County, and with voter turnout well below general election levels, expect the numbers to come out hard and fast.

(One important technical note for close observers: The very first numbers from the counties will read "100% of precincts counted". Ignore that. That's a holdover from vote-counting machines where all the votes for a single precinct are assembled, and only then counted. We'll have some votes from 100% of the precincts immediately, but not all the votes from 100% of the precincts. Instead, note the total ballots counted and compare that to your estimate of how many ballots you expect. And no, they can't tell you how many total ballots there are -- after 8 p.m., ballots will be driven in to county offices from far-flung dropboxes at libraries, schools, community centers, and elsewhere. So there's not a total ballot count until all the votes are counted.)

Want even more detail about how elections work in Oregon? Here's the primer I wrote when this all started.

OK, with all that out of the way, what do you expect will happen? Any predictions or prognostications?

Update: 4:57 p.m.: Over at the O, Jeff Mapes takes note [of the turnout numbers.] Good news for Bonamici:

Democrats have returned more than 67,000 ballots, compared to just over 50,000 for Republicans and about 25,000 for non-affiliated and minor-party voters. All told, just over 47 percent of the ballots returned have been from Democrats.

Democrats have also been slightly more likely to turn out so far. In the four counties besides Clatsop -- Washington, Multnomah, Columbia and Yamhill -- 40.7 percent of Democrats have returned their ballots to 39.8 percent of Republicans.

Update: 5:02 p.m.: At Daily Kos Election, David Jarman provides benchmarks for watching county numbers:

Bonamici only needs to fight to a tie in Washington County, the suburban county west of Portland that contains the bulk of the district's population; the huge Democratic edge in the slice of west Portland that's in OR-01 more than cancels out the Republican advantage in rural Yamhill County.

Update: 8:04 p.m. 8 p.m. Multnomah County numbers: Bonamici 15,173 (75%); Cornilles 4092 (20%). 37.4% turnout.

Update: 8:07 p.m. 8 p.m. Washington County numbers: Bonamici 54,630 (53%); Cornilles 41,918 (41%). 38.6% turnout. Turnout won't climb much past this point. I think we can stick a fork in Rob Cornilles.

Update: 8:18 p.m. The O's Jeff Mapes calls it for Bonamici.

Update: 8:22 p.m. 8 p.m. Clatsop County numbers: Bonamici 3586 (56%), Cornilles 2340 (37%). 32% turnout.

Update: 8:25 p.m. 8 p.m. Yamhill County numbers: Bonamici 9539 (43%), Cornilles 10,788 (49%). Turnout not reported?!

Update: 8:29 p.m. 8 p.m. Columbia County numbers: Bonamici 5997 (50%, Cornilles 4865 (41%). Turnout 44%.

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