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No Oath-Taking By Skype, Says Oregon Department Of Justice

<p>The seven Oregon electors take the oath of office in the Oregon Senate chambers.</p>

Chris Lehman

The seven Oregon electors take the oath of office in the Oregon Senate chambers.

The holidays can be a busy time of year.

But if you're a newly elected public official in Oregon, you may have an additional task to squeeze in between the family gatherings and watching bowl games on TV: taking the oath of office.

Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to brave the traffic or the elements and just take the oath by Skype? Turns out, you can't actually do that in Oregon.

According to a memorandum issued by the Oregon Department of Justice earlier this year, administering an oath is a "notarial act." That means whoever is making the statement "shall appear personally before the notarial officer."

Oregon Assistant Attorney General Karen Clevering writes that "the oath may not be administered by Skype."

The memo was issued in response to an inquiry from the Oregon Secretary of State's office prior to the November election.

Generally speaking, new statewide office-holders in Oregon take office on the first Monday in January. That's complicated this year because Jan. 2 is a state holiday, since New Year's Day falls on a Sunday.

The incoming Secretary of State, Dennis Richardson, will take the oath of office Friday, but won't formally assume the role until Jan. 2. Incoming Treasurer Tobias Read isn't scheduled to take the oath until Jan. 6. Gov. Kate Brown and members of the Oregon Legislature will take the oath Jan. 9.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting