Preliminary results on ballot Measure 92—Oregon’s GMO labeling bill that would require labeling on genetically modified foods—looked as if the measure would fail by a narrow margin. Now, that margin has dipped so narrowly, with fewer than 1,500 votes separating the outcome, that the state will conduct a recount.
Oregon has 0.2 percent automatic threshold for recount, and the most recent of the 1.5 million ballots counted put the margin of defeat to 0.1 percent. The recount would begin in December once confirmed by the state.
“The narrowing of the margin was thanks in part to challenges by proponents of labeling to identify ‘challenge ballots,’ ” the Washington Post reports. Those ballots submitted either in support of or in opposition to Measure 92 included unsigned ballots or ballots where signatures on the ballots did not match those signatures the state has on file for the voters.
According to the Oregonian, “There were just over 13,000 challenge ballots around the state, and Measure 92 supporters launched a major effort to get voters to go to their county elections office to sign their ballot or to send in a new voter registration card showing how their signature looks now.”
Measure 92 was the most expensive voter issue in Oregon’s history with both sides of the issue spending millions of dollars. The pr0-GMO labeling camp was extremely hopeful that the measure would pass. Ben & Jerry’s even changed one of its ice cream flavors to show its support of GMO labeling.
If the recount comes back in favor of Measure 92, Oregon will become the second state behind Vermont with a trigger clause-free GMO labeling bill (Maine and Connecticut have passed GMO labeling bills contingent on similar bills passing in neighboring states).
Vermont is already facing lawsuits from the food and grocery industry after it passed a GMO labeling bill earlier this year.
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