September 23rd, 2010 | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Dead Voters and Measure 76

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Two people who gathered signatures last spring for the initiative that became Measure 76 on Oregon's Nov. 2 ballot have been indicted for initiative fraud.

The announcement today of the indictments by Attorney General John Kroger and Secretary of State Kate Brown alleges that one of the signature gatherers had six signatures of dead people and that the other signature gatherer falsely certified signatures. Both instances dealt with Initiative Petition 70, a proposed continued dedication of lottery funds for parks and habitat that became Measure 76 when it qualified this summer for the ballot.

Josh Alpert, campaign manager for Measure 76, said this morning that the campaign vendor immediately notified the Secretary of State's office when concerns arose over signatures using the names of dead people. Alpert didn't know how the other allegation of false certifications arose.

"We applaud the Secretary of State for protecting the integrity of the initiative process," Alpert said. "In any process like this, it's not a perfect system."

Deputy Secretary of State Barry Pack said the signatures in question were not part of the statistical sample used for verification and that state elections officials are confident in their ability to suss out false signatures.

Here's the news release:
Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and Attorney General John Kroger today announced two initiative fraud indictments, one alleging the use of dead voters' names.

"I committed to Oregonians to crack down on fraud and abuse in the initiative process. These indictments reveal how critical it is that we take a proactive approach to protect our elections and restore Oregonians' faith in the initiative system," said Secretary of State Brown.

“Voters need to have faith in the integrity of our elections process,” said Attorney General Kroger. “These crimes will be prosecuted aggressively.”

Mia Baggenstos (DOB: 3/10/87) was indicted Sept. 22 in Multnomah County on 6 counts of knowingly making a false statement in violation of elections laws between April 13 and April 26, 2010. She also faces 1 count of Aggravated Identity Theft. The indictment accuses Baggenstos of falsely certifying the signatures of six people for Initiative Petition 70 who were in fact dead at the time.

Kelvin Moore (DOB: 3/31/67) was indicted Sept. 22 in Multnomah County on 2 counts of knowingly making a false in violation of elections laws on May 30, 2010. The indictment alleges that Moore falsely certified that every person who signed Initiative Petition 70 did so in the defendant's presence and that the defendant believed each such person was a qualified voter in Oregon when in fact they were not. It is alleged that Moore certified initiative petitions that were collected by a person not authorized to collect signatures.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Eugene Ebersole is prosecuting the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.

A criminal indictment is merely an allegation. Every criminal defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
 
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