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Voter turnout high

Scott Rose, with DLR Group Architects, shows Klamath Falls City Schools Board Chairman Bill Jennings, Superintendent Paul Hillyer and Yes City Schools PAC co-chair Dick Ledgerwood the initial results for the $36 million bond to renovate Klamath Union High School on Election Night last Nov. 4. Voters overwhelmingly approved the bond issue.

Voter turnout in the Nov. 4 election came in just over 70 percent, according to the Klamath County Clerk’s Office precinct report released last week.

That high turnout was reflected in many of the precincts, a few of them with even higher turnouts.

Those with the highest both had voter turnouts of 82 percent. They were the two areas east of Klamath Falls: Precinct No. 10, Lakeshore Drive and the Running Y neighborhood and Precinct No. 12, the Shield Crest and Pine Grove neighborhood.

Even in the precincts with the lowest voter turnout, more than half the citizens cast their ballots. Precinct No. 19, a part of the south suburbs near the Klamath County Fairgrounds, had a 55 percent voter turnout, and Precinct No. 38, an area along California Avenue in Klamath Falls, had a 56 percent voter turnout.

Klamath Union renovation bond

The Klamath Falls City Schools district had good news on Election Day when its $36 million bond to renovate Klamath Union High School passed with 60 percent of voters in favor. Out of the whole county, 19 precincts voted in the city school district. Of those, 17 had a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of the bond. Only two precincts, No. 11, the Orindale neighborhood in south Klamath Falls, and No. 20, a neighborhood along Old Fort Road, had a majority of voters against it. In both those cases, 53 percent voted against.

Of the precincts that voted for the school bond, most were in the 53 to 65 percent range in favor. The biggest lead was in Precinct No. 31, the Oregon Tech neighborhood, where 74 percent voted for the bond.

Marijuana legalization

Though Measure 91, which legalized recreational marijuana in Oregon, passed statewide with 56 percent voting yes and 44 percent voting no, it had the exact opposite percentage split in Klamath County. Here 56 percent of voters were against legal pot, while almost 44 percent were for it.

Of the county’s 43 precincts, only in 12 did the majority of voters cast ballots in favor of Measure 91.

The other 31 precincts were against it.

Those who voted against Measure 91 did so in large margins. The no vote had more than a 200-vote lead in precinct No. 18, the Midland and Falcon Heights neighborhood, and in precinct No. 27, the area around Brixner Junior High School in the south suburbs.

Most of the precincts that voted for legal marijuana were in Klamath Falls. Neighborhoods near Pelican Elementary, Fairview school, Klamath Union, Mills Elementary and Ponderosa Middle School had a majority voting in favor of Measure 91, as did California Avenue, the Mills Addition and Riverside Avenue and downtown near the Klamath County Government Center. But where pro-Measure 91 voters were in the majority, that majority was slimmer than the anti-Measure 91 precincts. Most voting in favor were ahead by 100 votes or fewer.

GMO labeling

Klamath County also gave a hearty “No” to the idea of labeling genetically modified organisms, or Measure 92.

In Klamath County, almost 64 percent of voters were against GMO labeling, while 36 percent were against, according to last week’s precinct reports.

In all, 37 of the county’s 43 precincts had the majority of voters against GMO labeling.

Those precincts where more voters approved GMO labeling were ahead by a hair’s width.

In precincts No. 35 (near Fairview school) and No. 39 (Market Street and Spring Street near downtown) those in favor of Measure 92 pulled ahead by only one vote.

Even with that large margin of no votes winning in the county, the Klamath County Clerk’s Office will be busy over the next few days recounting.

Statewide, the measure was defeated by a little more than 800 votes out of 1.5 million, which fell below the threshold to trigger a statewide recount.

“Because it was a statewide measure, every county is doing a hand recount,” said Klamath County Clerk Linda Smith.

Paid election workers will be organizing the Klamath County ballots in stacks of yes and no votes on Measure 92, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday and counting by hand. No machines will be used.

During the last statewide recount in 2008, it took two days.

“When you’re looking at just one measure on the ballot, I think it will go fairly fast,” Smith said, “but it still may take us two full days.”

Gerry O'Brien is the editor for The Herald and News. Email him at or follow him in Twitter at  @gerry_obrien1