Keeping An Eye On Oregon’s Katherine Harris

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This morning, Willamette Week and the Oregonian reported that the Department of Justice is investigating alleged election fraud at the Clackamas County Elections Office, which is run by Clerk Sherry Hall

This isn’t the first scandal to come out of Hall’s office, which is why days ago (even before this latest evidence emerged), Our Oregon filed a public records request to demand deeper scrutiny of the office because of past high-profile elections irregularities.

After years of seeing costly, suspicious foul-ups and voting irregularities in Clackamas County, Our Oregon demanded under Oregon Public Records Law (ORS 192.410 to 192.505) that all video tape files taken of the elections office where ballots are processed be preserved for review. The records request includes round-the-clock footage, plus records of anyone signing into and out of the balloting facility.

The latest fraud scandal to emerge from the clerk’s office involves a county elections employee allegedly filling in ballots in support of Republican candidates.

“Sherry Hall has become Oregon’s own Katherine Harris,” says Patrick Green, executive director of Our Oregon, referring to Florida’s controversial former Secretary of State.  “We are putting her on notice that we’ll be watching."

"She clearly has the means, motive and opportunity to interfere in the fair administration of the election," Green added.

The latest apparent fraud is only the latest in a series of scandals under Sherry Hall that have cost the county thousands of dollars and called into question the credibility of the elections office. The State Elections Office has twice had to step in to monitor the Clackamas County Elections office. A special monitor was sent by the state to oversee the May 2010 primary, on which Hall appeared as a candidate. Last fall, State Elections Director Steven Trout had to step in to oversee a signature verification process in which Hall’s office had erroneously accepted invalid signatures.

Hall has a record of making statements that reveal her blatant political bias. For instance, she responded to an inquiry into her office’s signature verification process by telling a local newspaper, “It’s all political, because these liberal groups don’t want citizens to exercise their right to put something on the ballot.”

“We filed this public records request because we had big concerns about the integrity of Clackamas County elections under Sherry Hall,” added Green. “After this morning’s news, our concerns have greatly increased.” 

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