After losing May’s Republican primary for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District to Art Robinson, University of Oregon student Stefan Strek says he wants a recount. Strek, who received 3.36 percent of the vote in the primary and is known for controversial statements such as comparing women to cats, said the results of the primary are inaccurate.
Strek said the campaign went well and said he wouldn’t change anything about how it went.
“The campaign went really solid, and I honestly think they’re just making up the numbers.” he said. “I honestly think most of those people who got those ballots voted for me.”
Cheryl Betschart, the Lane County elections clerk, said that she has no reason to believe that the election was tampered with.
“Our equipment is tested four different times for accuracy, three times before the election and one time afer to ensure that everything is counted accurately,” she said. “That was completed and there were no discrepancies found.
Recounts are expensive, as the cost is determined by how many precincts are recounted in a county. Oregon’s 4th District has seven counties, and Lane County alone has 80 precincts.
Betschart said that a recount of four precincts in 2010 cost $8,000, and that the costs would be significantly higher to recount all 80 precincts. Oregon law requires that recounts be done by hand.
“I estimate that it could be 15,000-$25,000 for Lane County,” she said. “It could take up to a week to prep everything and validate everything. You’re paying for people to do all the work, but it can be done.”
Jeff Doty, an elections supervisor in Benton County, said that he couldn’t give an estimate to recounting the votes in the county.
“Everything is different from election to election, so I can’t give you an honest answer,” he said. “We can’t estimate personnel costs until after the fact.”
The official results of the election will be available by June 14, and according to the Secretary of State’s election calendar, Strek has until June 19 to file for a recount.
Strek said he will crowdsource the money to fund the recount and said he was working to get the message out to the “big players,” who he described as “political organizers, high-ranking politicians and heavy investors.”
Strek said he raised $500 during the primary, but due to technical problems on the Federal Elections Commission’s website this could not be confirmed by the Emerald.
Running for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District wasn’t Strek’s first attempt at public office. In 2016, he ran for mayor of Eugene and received just over 1,000 votes. Strek said that people who lived outside of Eugene were receptive to his ideas, which inspired him to run for higher office.
“There was a large amount of people I spoke with who supported my viewpoints, but couldn’t vote for me since they didn’t live within city limits,” he told the Emerald in March. “People like that I approach things objectively with an open mind.”