In State Elections Complaint, McLeod-Skinner Campaign Alleges Unequal Access to Clackamas County Vote Count

It’s the latest irregularity in a county full of them.

Already facing statewide scrutiny for her handling of ballots with printing irregularities, Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall was hit with another problem Thursday: a formal complaint by one of the congressional candidates whose fate rests in those ballots.

The misprinted ballots require the Clackamas County Elections Office to re-bubble each ballot by hand. That’s a laborious process that Hall says could take until mid-June.

Clackamas County ballots will decide the Democratic Party primary in the 5th Congressional District—where incumbent U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) currently trails challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner. So each campaign is allowed one observer on hand to ensure accuracy of the duplication process.

This afternoon, the McLeod-Skinner campaign alleged to Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan that the Clackamas County Elections Office violated state law by allowing a representative of the Schrader campaign into the office an hour before allowing in an observer from his challenger’s campaign.

The complaint, obtained by WW from the Secretary of State’s Office, says an observer for the Schrader campaign was allowed into the building at 7:30 am Thursday—an hour before the McLeod-Skinner campaign observer was allowed into the observation room. (The McLeod-Skinner campaign says a Clackamas County logbook shows when the Schrader campaign’s observer entered the room.)

“Early access for one campaign and delayed access for an opposing campaign is not just unequal treatment,” says the May 19 complaint filed by Jamie for Oregon campaign manager Nichole van Eikeren. “It expressly violates ORS 254.482 as well as Clackamas County’s own SOS Security Plan.”

The campaign asked the secretary of state to investigate.

Van Eikeren tells WW she expects fairness from Clackamas County Elections. “We expect all county offices to uphold the integrity of our elections,” she said, “including compliance with their elections security plans and providing equal access to our elections observers, as it builds trust in our election process. We look forward to hearing the final results. Above all, the state must ensure that every Oregonian’s vote is counted.”

McLeod-Skinner leads Schrader by more than 20 percentage points and 9,678 votes across the district, which includes much of Clackamas and Deschutes counties.

Hall did not immediately respond to WW‘s request for comment on the complaint.