A box of completed election ballots were discovered in the Smith Memorial Student Union on Wednesday, nearly 12 hours after the official deadline. The box, found near the ASPSU Child Care Center and Subway, is said to have been about half full of uncounted ballots.
ASPSU treasurer James Wright was one of several students to notice the box early Wednesday. The box appears to have been left overnight in the same area where ballots were being collected on election day.
“I contacted the elections office and an elections official came and retrieved the box,” Wright said. He also called the Campus Public Safety Office to notify officers about the box.
Both Wright and another student who saw the box said that there were not visible indications of tampering, but they expressed uncertainty regarding what a tampered box might look like.
One student said that the box appeared to have been sealed around the edges but thought the slit on top of the box may have been left open.
According to elections procedure, ballots received and certified before 8 p.m. on Tuesday are countable for up to two weeks, when the election is finally certified. Any ballots collected after that time are invalid and will not be counted.
The ballots found at PSU were considered valid, and the elections office counted them along with other late returns.
While it is not unusual for ballots to continue to trickle in the day after an election, it is uncertain who had access to the ballots during the approximately 12 hours between the time ballot collection ceased and when the box was discovered.
John Kauffman, director of the Multnomah County Elections Division, said he is not aware of any ballot collection or voting problems at Portland State.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Kauffman said of the ballot box. “There would not (currently) be any ballots there.”