November 17, 2022 – West Linn Tidings – ‘It’s not a job; it’s a purpose.’ McMullen eager for Clackamas clerk role
“The community saw change needed to happen and saw in me someone who can put that into place and can turn things around and make sure our elections here in Clackamas County are top-notch,” she [Catherine] said.
November 9, 2022 – Oregon Public Broadcasting – Clackamas County voters elect new clerk following major ballot gaffes
“I want to work hard with the public on restoring trust to our elections here in Clackamas County,” McMullen said.
The clerk’s position comes with a $112,000 annual salary. It involves managing elections as well as public records, including marriage licenses. The clerk can also officiate weddings, but Hall stopped providing this service in 2014 when same-sex marriage was legalized in Oregon. McMullen said she’s bringing this service back.
“Making sure that every resident in Clackamas County feels welcome and gets the services from their own government is critical,” McMullen said.
November 8, 2022 – Oregonian – Clackamas County voters elect Catherine McMullen as clerk, ousting Sherry Hall after May election debacle
During her campaign, McMullen pitched herself as the right candidate to replace Hall. She has worked in elections since 2015 and is currently a campaign finance specialist in the Multnomah County Elections Division. After her win Tuesday, McMullen promised that her office will be a nonpartisan space where voters and residents will have “equal access to quality services and secure elections.”
“Our people-powered campaign has worked incredibly hard to enact needed change to our county clerk’s office,” McMullen said in a statement. “Your support will allow me to bring timely, accurate, and transparent elections to our county, and I am both humbled and thrilled that we have prevailed.”
November 8, 2022 – Oregon City News – Catherine McMullen defeats Sherry Hall in clerk race
McMullen told Pamplin Media Group she was pleased with both the initial returns as well as the undervote for the clerk race, saying it appeared more people had voted in the clerk race than in years past. Initial results showed about 16,000 undervotes in the Clackamas County clerk race.
“We are really pleased. I was telling my supporters we’ve had 499 days of a fantastic campaign. Elections need to be better here where we live and I have the knowledge and expertise to help do that,” McMullen said. “There’s plenty of work still to be done here in Clackamas County.”
November 9, 2022 – Willamette Week – Clackamas County Clerk Challenger Says She Will Resume Marriages, Including Same-Sex Ones, if Lead Holds
Catherine McMullen says she will resume civil marriage ceremonies at the Clackamas County Clerk’s Office if her lead in yesterday’s election holds and she becomes the new clerk.
Sherry Hall, who holds the office now, stopped conducting civil ceremonies in 2014 after Oregon legalized gay marriage.
“I will officiate weddings for all couples,” McMullen said in an interview.
November 10, 2022 – The Story: KGW – Video: Clackamas clerk who oversaw elections fraught with errors loses her re-election
November 8, 2022 – Canby First – County Clerk Ousted, Davis Leads in Early Canby City Council Returns
Retiring Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis was the leading vote-getter in the seven-way race for three seats on the Canby City Council, and longtime Clerk Sherry Hall appeared to have been decisively ousted after overseeing one of the worst election debacles in state history in the May primary in initial returns Tuesday night.
October 27, 2022 – Catherine McMullen: Upholding election integrity takes all of us – Editorial by Catherine McMullen – published in the Clackamas Review
Clackamas County clerk candidate: Fair and free elections are a fundamental building block of our democracy
Editor’s note: In May, Pamplin Media Group’s editorial board endorsed Catherine McMullen for Clackamas County clerk. Please vote for her by Nov. 8!
Fair and free elections are a fundamental building block of our democracy and a means to good governance at the local, state and federal levels. From my experience as a longtime election administrator, upholding election integrity means three core standards; that
• every eligible voter has the resources they need to vote easily and without hassle;
• our elections are safe, secure, and are confusion and error free;
• and election results are timely, accurate and trusted.
Upholding election integrity takes all of us: voters, candidates and election officials working together and holding each other accountable.
Election integrity means that every eligible voter has the resources they need to vote easily and without hassle. In Oregon you are eligible to vote if you are 18 years old, a resident of Oregon and a citizen of the United States. With few exceptions, you have a right and responsibility to vote in each and every election.
As an election official it is my responsibility to make sure you register to vote and can vote, and that as a voter you can get assistance if you have a disability, speak a language other than English or cannot read the ballot. If your signature didn’t match or you forgot to sign your ballot, I will contact you so that we can address the problem and count your vote.
Election integrity means that our elections are safe and secure. It means that directions, rules and communications are clear. Oregon elections are safe and secure. With our proud history of vote-by-mail and all-paper ballots we have a paper trail of every cast vote. Our voting equipment that tallies the vote is never connected to the internet and is kept secure and apart from all other systems.
As an election official, I have a responsibility to provide clear and accurate information about each election and make it accessible to all eligible voters. As a candidate for office, I rely on facts and refrain from fear-mongering tactics. As voters, we have a responsibility to investigate the information we read online, on social media and receive in the mail. We look for who is the true source of the information and if it can be verified and trusted.
As a community, we stand up to intimidation and harassment at the ballot box. If we see a voter being questioned, intimidated or kept from voting, we report that to our local election official and public-safety partners. We agree that every eligible voter has a right to vote safely, securely and confidentially.
Election integrity means that we have accurate, timely and transparent results on election night and every day after until the election is certified. We can see every step of the process and results are accurate and trusted as the end result.
As your election official, I make sure we have the needed resources and staffing planned out to signature verify, process, and tally every ballot for each election. With my experience in project management and conducting elections during emergencies, I can ensure that elections are conducted, and accurate results are provided according to required statutes, administrative rules and public expectations.
As voters, we can help elections officials by making a plan to vote, deciding when we will vote and knowing where to return our voted ballot. We share only trusted information from election officials about election results and processes. We can also serve as election observers, watching the process to hold our elections officials and leaders accountable.
It takes each of us in our unique and important roles as voters, candidates, and elections officials to uphold election integrity and ensure free and fair elections.
If you haven’t turned in your ballot yet, you still have plenty of time. Tuesday, Nov. 8 is election day. Your voted ballot must be returned to an Official Ballot Drop Site by 8 p.m. or mailed with a valid postmark by Nov. 8. I urge you to vote across your ballot and make choices for candidates, contests and measures at all levels of government. Thank you for exercising your right to vote.
October 6, 2022 – West Linn City Council election postponed to March 2023 due to ballot blunder – by Holly Bartholomew – published in the West Linn Tidings
(Another Blunder by the current County Clerk Sherry Hall) – Ballots already mailed inadvertently instruct voters to choose one candidate instead of two
Instead of voting for two new city councilors in the general election this November, West Linn voters will wait until a special election in March to make their decision.
The office of Oregon Secretary State Shemia Fagan released a directive Oct. 6 explaining that ballots printed for the November election inadvertently instructed voters to select one City Council candidate instead of two.
“Upon learning of the error, the Elections Division met with officials from the City and County to explore solutions,” the directive stated. “The Elections Division learned that military and overseas ballots have already been issued, and that it is not possible to reprint the remainder of the ballots and distribute them in the time required by state law.” ….
October 3, 2022 – Clerk candidate: Fill in Clackamas County races on your ballot – Editorial by Catherine McMullen – published in the Clackamas Review
Local elected officials count. Our many local elected officials – City Councilors, County Commissioners, and County Clerk – make the decisions that have the biggest impact on our daily lives, from how to enact policy to setting budgetary priorities, from planning for emergencies to making decisions on day to day operations. Your local elected official is your direct link to local government and community level decision-making.
Local elections count. These local offices that make the most direct impact on your daily life will be found further down your ballot, after the federal and state positions, and even after the state judges. These are also nonpartisan offices with no party affiliation after the candidate’s name.
Many voters forget to vote across the whole ballot or don’t feel as prepared to vote for local races. The same effort, funds, or media coverage is not put into the city council race as the Governor’s race. Accurate and trustworthy information about local contests and candidates is more difficult to find.
As an experienced elections administrator and former public librarian, I recommend these nonpartisan resources for evaluating local candidates:
- Candidate statements in the State and County Voters’ Pamphlet. This pamphlet is mailed to all households mid-October and available online now.
- The League of Women Voters Voting Guide and candidate interviews are available online at Vote411.org.
- Election coverage in established and trusted media such as the local newspaper and news stations. You can do a Google search for the candidate or race and filter results by news.
- Consulting with trusted family, friends, and neighbors. Voting is an act of community care and civic engagement.
Vote across your ballot. In the Clackamas County Clerk contest I urge you to use the resources above and make an informed choice for our next County Clerk. This important but overlooked office conducts elections, oversees the Recording office, and can choose to officiate weddings. The County Clerk is the critical connection between the citizen and their local government. This November we have the opportunity to elect a County Clerk that will ensure that local government works for us again, but we have to vote!
In 2018, the last time the current clerk was up for re-election more than 52,000 voters left the County Clerk race blank, choosing neither candidate. Clerk Sherry Hall won re-election by only 5,921 votes. That is a 35% undervote in a race that was won by less than 4%. What that means is that almost two out of every five voters who turned in their ballot, sat out on making a choice for County Clerk, the very office that is responsible for issuing, verifying, and counting that ballot.
Tuesday, October 18 is the Voter Registration Deadline for the November 8 General Election. Ballots begin to be mailed to voters the next day. I urge you not to sit out on these important local decisions, but to step up and make an informed choice for County Clerk so that we can have the timely, transparent, and trusted elections all Clackamas County citizens deserve.
August 14, 2022 – Catherine speaks with Ken Boddie – Eye on NW Politics with Ken Boddie (KOIN 6): Working toward a better elections process in Clackamas County –Published by KOIN news
August 11 – Clackamas County clerk blames multiple election mistakes on outside businesses – Published in OPB News
About three months after an election snafu misprinted more than half of Clackamas County primary ballots, diverted hundreds of county employees from their normal jobs, and cost taxpayers $600,000, Clerk Sherry Hall addressed the county Board of Commissioners on Wednesday with her summary of what went wrong.
“It’s humans,” Hall said. “Things happen.”
Hall told the board that “everything with this election was done correctly and on time” — even though, in May, Hall said her office didn’t act urgently enough when it became clear that tabulator machines weren’t processing many returned ballots. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan also criticized Hall for an apparent lack of urgency.
Then this month, Hall’s office again came under fire after thousands of voters in Oregon City, who were set to vote on their next mayor, didn’t receive voters pamphlets along with their ballots. After officials noticed the problem, they mailed letters notifying voters of the mistake to 3,800 households. The number of individual voters who were impacted by the mistake was likely greater than that.
In both instances, Hall blamed the third-party businesses handling the county’s ballot printing and mailing.
“Things happen,” Hall said. “We try to correct it, but we don’t control everybody’s work ethic or the way they do their job.”
August 5, 2022 – Catherine appears as a guest on Straight Talk with Laural Porter – Clackamas County clerk who oversaw May primary ballot counting fiasco makes her pitch for reelection to a sixth term –Published in KGW8 news
Read about Catherine’s appearance on KGW8 Straight Talk with Laural Porter. Catherine and her opponent in the race for Clackamas County Clerk both appeared as guests on Straight Talk, allowing voters to compare and contrast their different approaches to the County Clerk Office.
Her opponent, Sherry Hall, was defensive after multiple costly errors and a disastrous performance as County Clerk in the most recent elections. Under her oversight these County Clerk problems have continued even into the recent special election in Oregon City. Hall also reaffirmed her opposition to same-sex marriage and her continuing refusal to fulfill the County Clerk’s role in performing civil weddings. Catherine confirmed she will restart officiating marriages, including same-sex ceremonies, when she is elected.
August 5, 2022 – Voters’ Pamphlet error follows other mistakes that occurred under Sherry Hall’s watch – Clackamas County clerk’s office embroiled in another election inconsistency –Published in Pamplin Media by Raymond Rendleman
“Thousands of voters in Oregon City received their mayoral election ballots this week with an error in the Voters’ Pamphlet for a different election being held for Oak Lodge Water Services District residents who live across the Clackamas River and several miles to the north.”
June 1, 2022 – Unions support Catherine for Clerk – Cure for Clackamas County ballot box blunders: Vote out the county clerk – Published in the Northwest Labor Press by Colin Staub
After repeated prodding from Fagan’s office and other officials, Hall’s office published an election response plan on May 24. It indicates Clackamas County is providing county workers to help with the vote count. As of May 30, the clerk’s office had tallied about 111,000 of the 116,000 ballots. It has until June 13 to certify the election under state law.
McMullen says the public workers are the heroes of the county’s ballot counting efforts.
“There are hundreds of union members, county employees, who are stepping away from their current important work to respond to this emergency,” she said.
McMullen is endorsed by the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Oregon AFSCME, AFSCME Local 350 (representing Clackamas County employees), AFT-Oregon, IBEW Local 48, PCCFFAP Local 2277 and UFCW Local 555.
June 1, 2022 – Canby Current by Tyler Francke Two Weeks Later, Initial Ballot Count Nearly Complete in Clackamas County
McMullen, says the time has come for the county’s electorate to make a change.
“This crisis could have been avoided if Clerk Hall had taken appropriate preventative measures, followed established protocols, caught the blurred barcodes on ballots in quality control,” McMullen said in a statement last week. “Or even after discovering the error, [if she] had mounted a timely or planned response to the printing error.
“There is public recourse and it lies in our electoral process. Clerk Hall is an elected official and the citizens of Clackamas County can vote her out of office in November if she chooses not to resign.”
McMullen praised the work of other county officials and the hundreds of workers from Clackamas and other counties, as well as Fagan’s office, who have come forward help clean up the election mess.
“We can and will rise from this preventable situation by standing together as voters and citizens,” McMullen said, “but we must strengthen our focus and resolve to make our elections work for us this November and vote the current clerk out of office.”
May 26, 2022 – Pamplin Media Group supports Catherine –Pamplin Media Editorial Board “It’s time to restore trust in Clackamas County elections” – Published in the Clackamas Review
Pamplin Media Group editorial board: Sherry Hall must leave clerk’s office and make room for qualified candidate Catherine McMullen
Clackamas County’s elections clerk, who has made a litany of ballot mistakes in her 20-year tenure, should be removed from office.
Calling for the county’s clerk to resign or be recalled after her latest disastrous antics was an easy decision for Pamplin Media Group, since it was a decision that we’ve already made — repeatedly. Our editorial board called for her removal in 2010, after Sherry Hall’s office cost the county an extra $120,000 by misprinting ballots to include a race that was supposed to be in a different election.
We called for Hall’s removal from office again in 2012, when one of her employees was caught ballot tampering, filling in blank ovals for Republican candidates. This employee was eventually sentenced to 90 days in jail for the crime.
Calling for the ousting of the clerk is even easier this time around, with the availability of a qualified candidate to replace Hall on the November ballot. Catherine McMullen is a West Linn resident and employee of the Multnomah County Elections Office. McMullen, who holds certifications in elections management, shouldn’t be forced to wait until November to be Hall’s replacement.
Hall should resign now, so that Clackamas County commissioners can appoint McMullen and ensure a smooth transition for the elections office. In resigning, Hall would avoid prolonging what we believe will be her inevitable departure from office after the November election.
The clerk’s office is supposed to be nonpartisan, but Hall’s objectivity has legitimately been called into question. A registered Republican, Hall’s election errors have seemed to benefit members of her own party. In addition to her staffer filling out ballots for Republicans, her office produced a ballot listing the “Democrat Party” — a term that some of the Democratic Party’s opponents have adopted as a slur.
Hall has gone out of her way to make her partisan feelings known through her social media pages and her refusal to carry out same-sex marriages. Her latest fiasco over misprinting ballot barcodes is disproportionally affecting Democratic ballots.
May 26, 2022 – Clackamas debacle isn’t election system’s fault – Mail Tribune
May 20, 2022 – Rep. Janelle Bynum urges probe of Clackamas County ballot blunder – Published in the Clackamas Review
“Bynum, who chairs the Oregon House Judiciary Committee, released a statement calling out County Clerk Sherry Hall for her “inaction” once alerted of the misprint two weeks prior to the election, initially choosing not to accept assistance offered by county leaders.
“Despite having time to prepare for an election-day disaster, Ms. Hall has repeatedly failed to adapt and accept enough help to remedy the current crisis,” Bynum said. “When voters cast their ballots, they deserve efficient, transparent and integrity-driven processes to determine who wins those elections.”
May 5, 2022 – Printing error affecting many Clackamas County ballots will require copying votes by hand, raising county costs and delaying election results – Published in the Oregonian
Clackamas County election officials sent ballots with defective barcodes to an unknown number of voters for the May 17 primary, an error that will cost the county extra money and will likely delay election results. County Clerk Sherry Hall announced Wednesday that a printing error had caused the barcodes on many ballots to be blurred, making them unreadable by the county’s ballot processing equipment. Election officials didn’t notice the error before the ballots were sent to voters.
Published in the Pamplin Media Clackamas Review – Sherry Hall’s office makes another mistake that may cost the tax payers more than $100,000 – Catherine McMullen, a certified elections official who is running against Hall on the November ballot, said the blurry barcodes are just the latest in the “litany of election mistakes” in Hall’s office since her election 20 years ago. Past errors under Hall’s watch have cost more than $100,000 in reprinting fees, and McMullen estimated that the current error would exceed that cost, assuming that two staff get paid minimum wage and at least 10% of the ballots were misprinted. McMullen said that someone from Hall’s office should have been overseeing the ballot printing to ensure accuracy. “These types of mistakes are preventable and erode trust between the citizens and our democratic processes,” McMullen said. “It is crucial to stop these costly errors so our elections can run smoothly, securely and transparently.” VOTE Catherine McMullen for Clackamas County Clerk in November.
Published in Canby First – “Clackamas County Chair Tootie Smith said in a statement Friday that she was “aghast” when she heard about the misprints. “Many questions came through my mind: ‘Is my ballot secure?’ ‘Will my vote count?’ ‘How can I trust government to do what is right?’” she said. “Nothing is more honorable and sacred than the integrity of elections and full trust in the outcome. Regardless of intent or innocence of a mistake, there will be lingering questions about this election and the process used to remedy the situation.”
May 5, 2022 – Blurry ballots near Portland, Oregon, may delay tally – APNews
April 24, 2022 – Clerk Candidate: Closed Party Primaries Could Disenfranchise 121K Clackamas County Voters – OpEd by Catherine McMullen; Published in Canby First
Oregon’s current closed party primary system keeps unaffiliated and minor party voters out of important decision-making in our primary elections. There are now more than 1,022,000 nonaffiliated voters in Oregon — more than the total in either the Democratic or Republican parties in our state. (Read the full article in Canby First or on our Opinion Letters Web Page)
April 18, 2022 – Opinion: Catherine McMullen is ready to be Clackamas County clerk – Published in the Pamplin Media Clackamas Review on April 18, 2022 – Jaime Mathis: Sherry Hall has been doing this job for 20 years and she is not doing it accurately
I have lived in Clackamas County for over 35 years and during this time, Sherry Hall has been the county clerk for almost half of them. The vast majority of the elections I have participated in have been administered by her. I have always been a very engaged voter around issues and public facing candidates, but I took for granted that the actual people who make sure our elections are secure, accurate, accessible and well-run were doing just that…..Sherry Hall has been doing this job for 20 years and she is not doing it accurately. As I researched her career, I began compiling a timeline of newspaper articles and media coverage on her elections-related mistakes and their cost to the taxpayers of Clackamas County. In nearly every election, Sherry Hall has made either an informational error, such as leaving key ballot measures off the ballot, or included false information that has resulted in having to reprint thousands of ballots, which cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Read the full article in Pamplin Media or on our Opinion Letters Web Page)
April 13, 2022 – Decision 2022: Housing stability, voting access are connected – an Op-Ed by Catherine McMullen, published in Pamplin Media
Our state remains a shining example to the rest of the country for voting accessibility. In the words of President Biden, “The right to vote freely. The right to vote fairly. The right to have your vote counted” has been a reality for Oregonians for more than two decades. Despite the fact that ease of voting is an assumption for most Oregonians, “vote at home” is not so easy for underrepresented communities that struggle with economic inequality, housing instability and homelessness. Read more about what Catherine will bring to the Clackamas County Clerk Office.
March 8, 2022 was the deadline for candidates to file to run for office in the May 17, 2022 elections. As of today, there are two candidates for clerk that will appear on the November 8 General Election ballot. This means a longer campaign effort and an opportunity for more community members to participate in electing their next clerk. Vote for Catherine in November. (For more information see: When is Catherine Going to Be on the Ballot? )
The Clackamas County Clerk’s contest has an ideal candidate running for office. Catherine McMullen, a long time Oregonian, certified elections administrator, and advocate for disenfranchised communities and neurodiverse children has garnered the backing of elected officials, unions and professional organizations. McMullen’s credentials, experience, and fitness for the position of Clackamas County’s top elections official have caused an outpouring of support and engagement in her campaign across the county.
February 24, 2022 – The Clackamas Review (Pamplin Media) – Catherine McMullen endorsed by Oregon’s first female governor – by Jaelen Ogadhoh
“Catherine McMullen of West Linn has been endorsed in her campaign to be Clackamas County’s next clerk by former Gov. Barbara Roberts, who in 1990 became the first woman to be elected governor in Oregon history. Roberts — who championed equal rights for women, gay people and those with disabilities during her tenures as Secretary of State and a member of the Oregon House — commended McMullen on her voter outreach and education efforts.“
February 14, 2022 – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Values Matter in Elected Leadership – Catherine McMullen shares DEI statement with the West Linn Alliance
Thank you to the West Linn Alliance for Inclusion for inviting all candidates for office to share how they will promote diversity, equity, inclusion as an elected official.
September 9, 2021 – Catherine McMullen Files for Clackamas County Clerk
Elections official and voter-focused public servant Catherine McMullen (West Linn) was the first to file for the office of Clackamas County Clerk Thursday morning at the county elections office in Oregon City. McMullen was cheered on by a small group of friends, supporters, and voters.
July 27, 2021 – Catherine McMullen to run for Clackamas County Clerk
In my meetings with voters around our county the last few weeks I’ve gotten feedback that most people haven’t yet read the article from the Pamplin Media Group by Jaelen Ogadhoh dated July 27, 2021 around my campaign. You can read it here: Catherine McMullen to run for Clackamas County Clerk: West Linn resident first to announce candidacy for position responsible for conducting elections and keeping public records. Please then also share it in your networks and on social media. It is a great first article!