November 29th, 2012 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: PDX News, PDX Votes, Politics, Cops and Courts

State Indicts Clackamas County Elections Worker for Ballot Tampering

     
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A Clackamas County grand jury has indicted a county elections worker with ballot tampering after she was discovered filling votes for Republican candidates during this fall’s elections.

Deanna Swenson, 55, of Oregon City, was charged with six counts—four felonies and two misdemeanors—after state Elections Division officials asked for a criminal investigation, as first reported by WW. The Oregon Department of Justice is prosecuting the case.

Swenson was indicted on two counts each of voting more than once, unlawfully altering a ballot, and official misconduct.

According to sources, Swenson filled in bubbles on the mail-in ballots for GOP candidates where voters had left their choices blank.

Swenson told WW that there were only two ballots involved. But Secretary of State Kate Brown later said there might have been as many as six ballots involved. The investigation has raised more questions about way in which Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall has overseen the county’s elections office, although the indictment issued today suggests Swenson was acting alone.

Here is the statement DOJ released this morning:


 

A Clackamas County Grand Jury today returned an indictment charging Deanna Swenson, 55, with two counts of unlawfully altering a cast ballot, two counts of unlawfully voting more than once, and two counts of first-degree official misconduct.

Clackamas County elections officials removed Swenson from her position processing county election ballots after another election worker claimed to see her marking a ballot that had been only partially filled out. County officials alerted the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, which, in turn, requested the Oregon Department of Justice investigation. “The integrity of Oregon elections is of paramount importance,” Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said. “The Department of Justice has made this investigation a high priority since the allegations came to light.”

The department launched its investigation on Oct. 31. Lawyers from the department’s Criminal Justice Division are handling the prosecution. Swenson alone was charged. Investigators found no evidence of involvement by others. The first four charges are Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years imprisonment (as determined by applicable state felony sentencing guidelines,) and a $125,000 fine. The official misconduct charges are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine.
 
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