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Countering disinformation and election lies remains vital, says Oregon Secretary of State

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan asked Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall to produce a detailed plan as to when the votes would be fully counted.
Oregon Secretary of State's office
Former Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan displaying her "Vote" tattoo. Fagan is facing ethics investigations for actions that led to her abrupt resignation earlier this year.

Now that November election ballots are blanketing the state, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan is sending out the message that voting here continues to be fair and secure.

Fagan told OPB's “Think Out Loud” that Oregon has a robust system for ensuring the integrity of elections, including regularly updating voter rolls and checking voter signatures to validate the vote.

“Every single signature is checked. Every one. Not just a sample, not just a statistical amount. Every single signature is checked to make sure that’s the person who actually did vote.”

Former president Donald Trump and his supporters are continuing to repeat lies and disinformation about widespread fraud in U.S. elections and specifically about the security of mail-in voting, which Fagan says is affecting the job of county-level election officials here in Oregon.

“Sadly it’s a conspiracy that’s believed by about one in five Oregon voters and that’s a significant amount of our population,” she said. “We know it’s safe and secure here in Oregon. But yes, those conspiracy theories definitely are wearing on our county elections officials.”

Earlier this week, the Siuslaw News reported on a conservative group called the “Florence Liberty Alliance, which put up a post on its Facebook page asking for volunteers for a “Ballot Box Watch Team.” Fagan’s office is encouraging Oregon voters to “know their rights” and urging anyone who feels someone is trying to intimidate them at the ballot box or elsewhere to report it to her office online, by calling 503-986-1518 or emailing elections.sos@sos.oregon.gov.

“Intimidation can include aggressive or harassing questions about whether someone is qualified to vote that are intended to interfere with the right to vote … questions about citizenship status, criminal record, residency or other personal information or questions about how you intend to vote.”

Fagan says she hopes that their education campaign “Voting in Oregon Feels Good,” will resonate with Oregonians and encourage voter turnout. Ballots in the November election must be turned in or postmarked by Nov. 8.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Allison Frost