PORTLAND – Early returns showed Portland residents voting to keep their city the largest in the U.S. without fluoride in the water.
With more than half the expected ballots counted Tuesday night, the Multnomah County election website showed the fluoride proposal failing, 60 percent to 40 percent.
The City Council voted last year to add fluoride to the water supply that serves about 900,000 people. But opponents quickly gathered enough signatures to force a vote on the subject.
Voters had weeks to make their choice in the mail-ballot election. By Tuesday it was too late to rely on the postman, so drop boxes were placed across the city to accommodate those who waited until the final day to make a decision.
“We were still getting ballots from drop sites close to 8 p.m.,” said Eric Sample, a Multnomah County elections spokesman. That meant a “pretty darn long night” of vote counting that likely would stretch into today, he said.