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Secretary of State: Clackamas County election delay is ‘outrageous’

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 5:38 PM PDT
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CLACKAMAS COUNTY Ore. (KPTV) - As elections workers continue to process tens of thousands of uncounted ballots in Clackamas County, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan on Tuesday addressed concerns about the delay in the election.

“I’m a Clackamas County resident and obviously have found this incredibly frustrating and quite frankly just outrageous. But my north star as Secretary of State for the whole state is to land this plane,” said Fagan.

Fagan said her office learned about the blurred barcodes on the Clackamas County ballots, which prevent them from being read by counting machines, on May 3rd, well before the May 17th primary election. She said her office offered the county assistance the very next day, but was assured by County Clerk Sherry Hall that she would be able to complete the counting of ballots by the deadline with the resources she already had.

“On Tuesday evening, when the initial results were reported, it was very surprising and disappointing that the county had not adequately staffed up to tally the number of ballots it was receiving despite our best efforts to help.,” said Fagan.

Meanwhile, the county on Tuesday released video related to a complaint filed by the campaign of congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner that appears to show an elections staffer letting an observer for Rep. Kurt Schrader, who is running against McLeod-Skinner, into the elections office before it opened for business on May 19th. An observer for McLeod-Skinner’s campaign wasn’t allowed into the office until an hour later.

Hall has said publicly that she didn’t know how that observer got into the office, but the video shows her accompanying the elections staffer shortly before the staffer let the observer in.

“It’s outrageous. It’s absolutely outrageous to stand in front of the public and to say one thing and then to have a video showing something very different, and so I’m incredibly frustrated, incredibly disappointed, and I find it outrageous that the facts came out and looks to be contradictory of what she said,” said Fagan.

As of Monday night, the county had counted just over 57,000 ballots, which is only about half the ballots that it has received.

Under state law, the county has until June 13th to finish counting all the ballots.