Current actions by the Republican Secretary of State illustrate the importance of electing a law abiding candidate come 2020.
As Oregonians, we take pride in our election system. We lead the country in voter access and holding safe, secure elections. Unfortunately, all that is being threatened by Oregon’s Republican Secretary of State, Bev Clarno.
One of the Democratic leaders, Representative Tiffiny Mitchell of Oregon’s North Coast, is being threatened with an outrageous recall effort.
She didn’t break the law or abuse her power. Instead, climate-deniers are collecting signatures to remove her from office simply for delivering on her promise that she would vote to take bold action on climate change in 2019. Recall proponents know that they can’t win on the merits of their argument, and that’s why they’re now accused of violating four different election laws in their efforts to recall Rep. Mitchell.
But instead of holding them accountable, Republican Secretary of State Bev Clarno is turning a blind eye.
Despite multiple formal complaints and nearly two months of waiting, Secretary Clarno’s office has failed to take any investigatory action.
There are fewer than two weeks until signatures are due, and if the Secretary’s office runs out the clock and fails to act before December 4, there could be dire consequences:
- Illegal and false statements about Rep. Mitchell’s voting record could be printed on the ballot that is sent to voters in a recall election.
- Signatures gathered under false pretenses, including from voters who don’t even live in Rep. Mitchell’s district, could be counted toward the recall.
- If election and signature gathering fraud succeeds in our elections system, it could set off a string of reckless recall efforts around the state.
Secretary Clarno is giving preference to the recall effort and hoping that no one will notice if she just doesn’t investigate.
At a time when it’s already hard enough to tell fact from fiction in politics, we need to know that our elections administrator will enforce the law, call out fraud, and decline to print falsehoods on our ballots. At the very least, she should not be putting her finger on the scales in favor of right-wing extremists.