Sherry Hall said one thing, and the video shows another.
The election mess in Clackamas County deepened today when the county released security video of County Clerk Sherry Hall that appears to contradict what Hall has said about how an elections observer from U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader’s campaign got into the county elections office before it opened.
Earlier this month, Schrader’s opponent, Jaime McLeod-Skinner, alleged to Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan that the Clackamas County Elections Office violated state law by allowing a representative of Schrader’s campaign into the office an hour before admitting an observer from McLeod-Skinner’s.
A log sheet provided by the elections office in response to a records request from WW shows that a Schrader campaign representative signed in at 7:30 am Thursday, May 19. The office officially opened at 8:30 am, and a McLeod-Skinner observer signed in eight minutes later.
At a press conference the next day, Hall said she had no idea how someone could have gotten in before business hours on the 19th. It was possible that an employee badged in and someone followed, she said.
Today, the county released security video showing an elections worker, identified by the county as Tiffany Clark, walking toward the door to the elections building at 7:34 am. She turns to talk to a visitor, then goes into the building. The visitor walks a few yards and stands outside the building.
A minute later, a camera inside captures Clark walking into the room where workers count the votes. At 7:36 am, Clark walks back out of the counting room, with Hall, and into the observation area. Seconds later, the exterior camera picks up Clark letting the visitor into the building.
At the very least, the video shows that Hall was in the building when the visitor was admitted. At worst, it suggests that Clark consulted with Hall before letting the visitor in.
The incident raised the ire of Fagan, who was already exasperated by Hall’s performance. Fagan offered Hall help soon after the election, but Hall declined.
“It’s absolutely outrageous to stand in front of the public and say one thing and then have a video showing something very different,” Fagan said at a press conference today.
Fagan said state law prevents her from taking over a county election and that she is working with Hall to get the votes counted. The county must certify the election by June 13.
“The county clerk is the only person who can conduct this election,” Fagan said.
Kimberly Dinwiddie-Webb, a spokesoman for the clerk’s office, said Hall could not comment because of Fagan’s ongoing investigation into the elections complaint filed by McLeod-Skinner. “The clerk intends to fully cooperate with this investigation,” she said.
As of May 23, Clackamas County said it had counted 57,550 ballots out of 114,840 received.