Portland City Council candidate Joey Brunelle talks to CBS 13 about how he wants a recount of Tuesday's election results. Credit: CBS 13

A Portland City Council candidate is calling for a recount, after he says voting tabulation machines malfunctioned at a half dozen precincts.

Because he lost by more than one and a half percent, the city is not obligated to pay for a recount.

Right now, the Portland City Clerk’s Office is reviewing Joey Brunelle’s request for a recount in the at-large city council race.

“My understanding is that there were a half-dozen machine malfunctions across the city,” Brunelle said.

Joey Brunelle says he was leading the at-large city council race when those voting machines malfunctioned.

He says that led to ballots being counted by hand hours after the polls closed.

When it was over, he narrowly lost to incumbent Councilor Nick Mavodones, but he’s asking for a recount in three polling places where the machines malfunctioned. Mavodones defeated Brunelle by about 700 votes over nearly 30,000 ballots cast.

“This isn’t about the outcome for me,” Brunelle said. “This is about making sure that our voting infrastructure is reliable, and that people can have confidence in the results.”

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In his letter to the city clerk’s office, Brunelle says those precincts took an unusual amount of time to process ballots, with some results not called in until after 4 in the morning, that thousands of ballots were not tabulated in the presence of voters, but instead processed by poll workers after polls closed and that there was an opportunity for human error or some ballots to be discarded.

“We had sent observers to a couple of those precincts around 3:30 a.m,” Brunelle said. “We weren’t able to get into one of them.”

Brunelle is also requesting a complete review of Portland’s election infrastructure.

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“We want to shine a light on the fact that everything didn’t go smoothly on Tuesday,” Brunelle said. “The other thing we’ve asked the city is to conduct a review of the voting infrastructure in Portland, to make sure we have enough machines, that the machines are reliable.”

A city spokesperson says the city clerk’s office is now completing their election follow up work, and reviewing Joey Brunelle’s request for a recount, and they say until that review is complete, the city has no comment.

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