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Bates maintains 257-vote lead over Dotterrer

In the latest batch of ballots counted, the Jackson County Elections Center still gives state Sen. Alan Bates a 257-vote lead over his opponent, Dave Dotterrer.

The latest results give Bates 24,444 votes to Dotterrer's 24,187 in Senate District 3, which covers Ashland, Phoenix, Talent, Jacksonville and much of Medford.

Bates, a Medford Democrat, and Dotterrer, an Ashland Republican, have said they will wait until the election is certified by Nov. 22 before calling the race.

The Elections Center is still processing ballots in which signatures don't match those on record. Voters should have received a letter in the mail notifying them of a signature problem. Today at 4 p.m. is the deadline to clear up any signature problems.

Republican Senate leaders have paid for robocalls to alert voters to check with the Elections Center about their signatures.

The Dotterrer campaign hopes enough voters clear up their signatures to give the challenger an edge in the final days of ballot counting.

Senate leaders have discussed the possibility of a recount after the election is certified.

The Bates campaign has sent out e-mails to voters asking that they get any signature problems cleared up.

On Tuesday, Bates had a 305-vote lead. On election night, Dotterrer had a 1,200-vote lead that evaporated as more ballots were processed.

The race is being watched throughout the state, and a lot of money was poured in to help the candidates during their campaign. If Dotterrer were to win, the House and Senate would have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.

Dotterrer received more than $350,000 in donations, much of it from a Senate leadership fund.

Bates received more than $336,000, much of it from health-related groups. In the last month of the campaign, both candidates flooded mailboxes with mailers.

The Elections Center, which was closed Thursday, urges voters who have received a letter about a challenged signature to head down to the office to get the matter cleared up.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail dmann@mailtribune.com.