Marion County Court Judge Dennis Graves provided a lesson today about conserving scarce public resources.
Judge Graves addressed
[PDF] a dispute
between Clackamas County and the Secretary of State's Elections division this morning by proposing that rather than spending $120,000 to replace inaccurately printed ballots, the county insert a piece of colored paper alerting voters to the error.
"The court finds that the Oregon Secretary of State properly interpreted Oregon law and validly issued the Directive in this case. However, I find that there is an appropriate remedy that will not require Clackamas County to spend in excess of $100,000 (plus substantial labor costs) to reprint all of its primary election ballots," Judge Graves wrote in a two page ruling released this morning. "The Clackamas County Clerk should create, on brightly colored paper, an insert to be included in the envelope with each unmailed ballot. That insert should clearly state the candidates' names for Position No. 3 were mistakenly printed on the Primary ballot and should appear only on the General Election ballot."
Secretary of State Kate Brown, Oregon's top elections official, is still considering how her office will respond to the ruling, says Brown's spokesman, Don Hamilton.
Updated at 1:45 pm:
Hamilton says that SOS Kate Brown does not accept the judge's order and has asked Attorney General John Kroger's office to seek a stay of the ruling from the Court of Appeals. The situation must be resolved soon, Hamilton adds, because the deadline for sending out ballots is Tuesday, May 4.