This week's Rogue, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, is considering running for governor in 2010. He hasn't made much of a case recently for his competence.
Republicans criticize Bradbury and Washington County Elections over a boundary screw-up that may bounce state House District 29 nominee Jeff Duyck from the ballot..
But the Rogue Desk is far more troubled by allegations from Bradbury's fellow Democrats that he is derelict in his duties as the state's chief elections officer. Activists at the advocacy group Our Oregon have compiled a devastating catalog of signature-gathering abuses dealing with initiatives heading to the November ballot (to see their evidence, watch the presentation below).
Among their many examples: use of carbon paper to transfer signatures from one petition signature sheet to another, the apparent use of "writing circles" in which groups gather to manufacture signatures, and scores of signature sheets in which the address and printed name of the purported signer are written in a different hand from the signature.
So where did critics get their evidence? They requested copies from Bradbury's staff, which has had the sheets for months.
Bradbury spokesman Don Hamilton says Our Oregon is looking at old info. "Many of the cases they cite would be illegal today," Hamilton says, alluding to a law going into effect in 2008 that tightened initiative rules. "The secretary vigorously pursues and investigates any allegations of fraud."
Oregon AFL-CIO director Tom Chamberlain says his group, which has fought initiative fraud and has reviewed Our Oregon's findings, is "really disappointed" in Bradbury. "The initiative system is an important part of this state, but we need a secretary of state who can ensure the system's integrity,'' Chamberlain says. "And Bill Bradbury is not doing that."