FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 4, 2022
Contact: Jaime Mathis, firstname.lastname@example.org 503-708-3249
Another Mistake in a Career of Missteps and Lack of Accountability
West Linn, OR. – In what has become almost de rigeur with the Clackamas County Clerk’s office around election time, a press release was issued today by Clerk Hall stating that an unknown number of ballots had their barcodes misprinted and would have to be duplicated by trained staff, resulting in higher labor costs and potentially delayed primary election results.
The press release did not specifically name the printer in question, but upon investigation, Moonlight BPO was discovered to be the company which misprinted the ballots. While many county clerks offices have representatives at the printers to ensure printing accuracy, early sources indicate that there may not have been any election office oversight when the ballots were being printed.
Clerk Hall has come under closer scrutiny during this election with op-eds in local papers questioning her ability to run secure, reliable, and competent elections and pointing to Catherine McMullen, a trained, accredited, and seasoned elections official as the change Clackamas County needs.
Many articles and press have been devoted to detailing the litany of election mistakes that Clerk Hall’s office has produced since her election 20 years ago. Ballot errors in the past have cost voters’ over 100K to reprint and in 2012 Clerk Hall was responsible for hiring a woman who committed election fraud by filling in blank spaces for her own preferred candidates. She was convicted and spent 90 days in jail.
The final cost in the May 17 election for the current mistake has yet to be determined and likely will not be available to the public until after Election Day. In the meantime, many more staff hours will have to be spent to oversee and maintain the security and transparency of the ballot duplicating process which takes around 5 minutes per ballot to complete. Ballot duplication is a process intended for small scale issues such as damaged or torn ballots not large printing errors.
Clackamas County has 306,675 registered voters. If we assume that two staff get paid minimum wage and 10% of the ballots are misprinted, Clackamas County could be paying an extra $50-100K in labor depending on the full scope of the error.
Voters in Clackamas County have called for Clerk Hall’s resignation over past election fraud and unnecessary expenditures. Former Clackamas Commissioner Chair, Lynn Peterson said, “Ms. Hall neglected the single most important duty of her office – to ensure that our elections run smoothly. This is not a matter of ideology, but of basic competence by a fellow elected official.”
So far, Sherry Hall has remained in her position as County Clerk, the top election official for the county. With the high rate of staff turn-over in the Clerk’s office in addition to the consistency of mistakes over two decades, challenger Catherine McMullen had the following comment:
“These types of mistakes are preventable and erode trust between the citizens and our democratic processes. It is crucial to stop these costly errors so our elections can run smoothly, securely, and transparently. As a Certified Elections Administrator through the Oregon Association of County Clerks, I make it my business to get these critical details of election administration right. We must have accurate elections.”
You can learn more about Catherine McMullen’s campaign and elections experience at: clackamasvoice.org
Update May 5, 2022 – The Clerk’s office has shared with KOIN 6 news that likely two thirds of the 309,000 ballots have unreadable barcodes: https://www.koin.com/news/elections/defective-barcodes-found-on-clackco-ballots-ahead-of-primary-election/
Detailed media coverage of the error:
Clackamas Review (Pamplin Media) Clackamas County votes will still be counted despite costly error: Two election workers of different political parties to transfer more than 50,000 estimated ballots to machine readable format. READ ARTICLE
Oregonian Printing errors affecting many Clackamas County ballots will require copying votes by hand, raising county costs and delaying election results. READ ARTICLE
OPB Clackamas County elections officials say some primary ballots are defective. READ ARTICLE
Oregon Secretary of State Oregon Election Statement on Clackamas County Ballot Printing Error READ STATEMENT