Ballot tampering reported in Clackamas County - KPTV - FOX 12

Emergency meeting called for alleged ballot tampering

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OREGON CITY, OR (KPTV/AP) -

Clackamas County commissioners have called a 9 a.m. Monday emergency meeting to discuss the alleged fraud at the elections office. The Department of Justice and secretary of state's office were invited to the meeting but are not expected to have representatives attend.

The meeting was called at the request of County Chair Charlotte Lehan, who raised several concerns about the alleged fraud. The meeting will be held at the Public Services Building on 2051 Kaen Rd. in Oregon City.

Department of Justice officials are also investigating whether a Clackamas County election worker tampered with mail ballots this week.

County Clerk Sherry Hall told The Associated Press a criminal violation of election law was uncovered by her office Wednesday and reported to the secretary of state's Elections Division.

"This is the first time we have heard of this situation occurring in Oregon," said Kate Brown, Oregon secretary of state. "We are taking this very seriously because it is a violation of the public's trust."

Brown said a state election monitor has been assigned to oversee the county's ballot processing. She did not know how many ballots could have been changed.

Hall declined to identify the worker or describe the specific nature of the violation. A DOJ spokesman told FOX 12 a temporary county elections worker is allegedly to blame, and that the worker replaced race entries left blank with Republican candidates.

"There are a number of security measures in place, which is how it was identified in the first place," said Brown. "This woman will be held accountable and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

Given the timing of the election, DOJ officials said the case is a high priority. Brown said the election will move forward as planned.

If state investigators prove the allegations to be true, voters in Clackamas County are worried about the validity of the election results being compromised.

"I don't know if they want everybody in Clackamas County that had already voted to revote and then just dump everything that's there, but there has to be a way to make it happen," said voter Judy Coleman.

Marking another person's ballot is a felony.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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