Clackamas Co. names worker accused of ballot tampering

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by KGW.com and AP Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 7:36 PM

PORTLAND -- An investigation is under way into a report of ballot tampering in Clackamas County that allegedly involved an elections worker.

County clerk, Sherry Hall, said a criminal violation of election law was uncovered by her office last Wednesday and reported to the secretary of state's Elections Division.

Commissioners met Monday to investigate and reassure voters that special security measures are in place. The alleged tampering happened last Wednesday and involved at least two ballots.

"At this point, it is unclear how many ballots the employee at issue had access to, or what will be done with those ballots," a statement from the sheriff's office said Monday. "Ballot envelopes are opened at a table with observers registered with both major political parties, and the room has a space for the public to observe the process."

Protesters outside the office were calling for Hall to step down.

Deanna Swenson, a temporary elections employee, was "relieved of duty" during the investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice, according to Clackamas County Public Affairs Manager Tim Heider. She allegedly filled in republican preferences on spaces that voters had left blank.

Swenson is not a county employee but worked part-time at the elections division at the time of the Oct. 31 incident, Heider said.

The secretary of state now has two people monitoring the election and the only pens allowed near ballots are bright colors that can’t be registered by voting machines.

As for the ballots that were allegedly tampered with, officials said there was no way to match them to individual voters, so they were thrown out.

 

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