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Corvallis’ next mayor won’t be known until December

Chris Lehman
Corvallis is using Ranked Choice Voting to choose its next mayor.

The next mayor of Corvallis likely won’t be known until December. That’s because of the city’s use of ranked choice voting.

In Ranked Choice Voting, if no single candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in the initial count, then the candidate with the least support gets removed from consideration. Then, elections officials consider the second choice candidate on the ballots of people who voted for the person who was eliminated.

In the three-way Corvallis Mayor’s race, Charles Maughan and Andrew Struthers are nearly tied, but both are well below the 50 % threshold. If those results hold steady, it would mean current third-place finisher Roen Hogg would be eliminated and his supporters’ second-choice votes–if any–would be distributed to Maughan or Struthers.

The Benton County elections office says that won’t happen until December 1st, meaning it will be several more weeks until Corvallis residents learn who will next serve as their mayor. The timeline for the second-choice distribution is affected by the fact that additional ballots may arrive in the mail until next Tuesday, and voters whose ballots are being challenged due to potential signature discrepancies have up to two weeks to resolve the challenge.

This is the first election in the City of Corvallis to utilize Ranked Choice Voting, although it's been used in for County Commissioner races in Benton County since 2020.

One of the seats on the Corvallis City Council is also affected by Ranked Choice Voting: The three-way race in Ward 9 that includes Cliff Feldman, Tony Cadena and Nyssa Towsley.

Cadena is currently leading by 267 votes over Towsley, the second-place finisher. But Cadena has just 45 percent of the overall vote. Under Ranked Choice voting, if the results don't shift significantly, Feldman would be eliminated and his supporters' second-choice votes—if any—would be distributed to either Cadena or Towsley.

None of the other City Council races in Corvallis had three or more candidates on the ballot, meaning they won't be affected by Ranked Choice Voting.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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