An audible gasp came from election workers as Linn County Clerk Steve Druckenmiller announced the discovery of fraud.
Even though the incident was not in Linn County, but in Clackamas, Druckenmiller said it affects them all.
“The charge is that the worker apparently was alone with ballots,” he said. “It was sketchy information, I was just talking with the Secretary of State’s office.”
An elections employee was allegedly filling out ballots in one race or many races affected by what is called the undervote, a race where a voter has not voted, usually because the race is not contested, Druckenmiller said.
“Obviously the process worked in that it was discovered,” he said. “The extent of the damage is minimal if it was the undervote. But what it is, you know and I know, it’s disgusting.”
Druckenmiller thanked the county commissioners and all the people who come in to help with elections, some of whom have worked for longer than 60 years.
The commissioners helped make sure Linn County’s elections are not easily compromised, Druckenmiller said.
“We’re careful in what we do,” he said, but warned his employees this situation would be overblown, feeding conspiracy theories.
“To have this happen is heartbreaking,” Druckenmiller said. “In the end, it shows the system works. This is the first blemish to our system that I know of.”
He said any system is vulnerable, and this case should remind his workers what they do and why they do it, and why they have checks and balances like they do.
No one is left alone with ballots, people of multiple party affiliations work together, and Druckenmiller said he tries to avoid hiring anyone who is politically active for the job.
For more on the election process, see Wednesday’s Lebanon Express.
Ballots may be turned in at local drop boxes at the Lebanon Public Library, 55 Academy St., and at the Linn County Sheriff’s Substation, 2590 S. Main St.
Druckenmiller said ballots might arrive on time if mailed today, but it would be better to drop them in a box.