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Election Law @ Moritz Home Page

Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz


2008 Key Questions for Key States

Oregon

The complete research by Election Law @ Moritz for Oregon can be found below.

Institutional Arrangements

State Chief Election Authorities

Elected individual (D)

Chief election authority: Secretary of State. § 246.110.

Method of selection: Election. Const. Art. VI, § 1.

Current officer: Bill Bradbury (D). Brad Avakian to run for secretary of state, The Oregonian (Portland), August 1, 2007. (Last updated 1/1/08)

State High Court Composition

Unknown affiliation/elected

Method of selection: Election. Const. Art. VII, § 1.

Justices: Rives Kistler (appointed by D), Martha Lee Walters (appointed by D), Virginia L. Linder (no info), W. Michael Gillette (appointed by R), Paul J. De Muniz (no info), Robert D. Durham (appointed by D), Thomas A. Balmer (appointed by D) (Last updated 12/22/07)

Sources:

  • American Judicature Society, Judicial Selection in the States: Oregon
  • The Monday Profile Oregon Supreme Court’s Newest Justice, The Oregonian (Portland), September 15, 2003.
  • Editorial: Election 2006, Endorsements, Virginia Linder belongs on state’s Supreme Court, The Oregonian (Portland), September 24, 2006.
  • Oregon’s Next Supreme Court, The Oregonian (Portland), April 18, 2004.
  • Court rejects initiative challenge, The Oregonian (Portland), September 6, 2003.

Local Administrator Training

Annual training/mandatory

Each year, the Secretary of State must organize and give notice of three conferences on the administration of the election laws. ORS 246.140. Each county clerk or designated deputy shall attend at least one of the conferences.

The secretary also must prepare and distribute written directives on registration of electors and election procedures to each county clerk. ORS 246.120. The secretary of state must assist, advise, and instruct each county clerk on the provisions in the written directives.

Who tallies precinct results?

Local election authority - partisanship unconstrained

The county clerk tallies precinct results. ORS 254.545.

Who counts provisional ballots?

Local election authority - partisanship unconstrained

Local election officials (typically county clerks) determine whether to count provisional ballots. ORS 254.408. These officials may be elected or appointed.

Who performs state canvass?

Secretary of State - elected

The Secretary of State conducts the state canvass. ORS 254.555.  The Secretary of State is elected.  Const. Art. VI, 1.

Local Administrator

County official - elected or appointed

At the local level, Oregon elections are run by elected county clerks. ORS 204.005, 246.200. However, Multnomah County (Oregon's most populous) and other counties have chosen to modify local law to require elections be managed by professional appointed directors.

Local Administrators' Party Affiliation

Unknown affiliation/elected

Note: All Oregon counties conduct almost all of their voting exclusively by mail.

County Population Administrator/Affiliation Selection Voting Technology
Multnomah 681,454 Tim Scott (?) Appointed N/A
Washington 514,269 Mickie Kawai (?) Appointed N/A
Clackamas 374,230 Sherry Hall (R) [1] Elected N/A
Lane 337,870 Annette Newingham (?) Appointed N/A
Marion 311,304 Bill Burgess (D) [2] Elected N/A
Jackson 197,071 Chris Walker (?) Elected N/A
Deschutes 149,140 Nancy Blankenship (?) Elected N/A
Linn 111,489 Steven Druckenmiller (?) Elected N/A
Douglas 105,117 Barbara Nielson (?) Elected N/A
Yamhill 94,678 Jan Coleman (?) Elected N/A
Total 2,876,622 (77.7% of population)
  • [1] County clerk will face pair of challengers, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), April 13, 2006.
  • [2] Department of Justice open investigation against Victoria Doyle, AP Alert, May 26, 2005.

Voter Registration

Registration Deadline

21 days before election

The registration deadline is the 21st day preceding the election. ORS 247.025. Mailed registrations will be effective for the upcoming election if postmarked prior to the deadline. ORS 247.012.

Notice of Registration Error

Yes

The county clerk shall attempt to contact the applicant if the necessary information is not present. ORS 247.012.

Opportunity to Correct after Registration Deadline

Generally No

When the applicant fails to supply date of birth, that failure may be corrected after the registration deadline and still be effective for the upcoming election. ORS 247.012. The code does not contain such provisions for any other type of error or omission, suggesting that other types of post-deadline corrections will be effective only for the next election cycle.

HAVA matching standards

Exact match standard

Oregon uses an exact match standard, regardless of whether the voter submitted their driver's license number or social security number on their registration form.

Source: Phone conversation, Multnomah County (Portland) Elections Division, July 16, 2008.

Will the inability to verify social security number or driver's license number prevent registration?

Unmatched voters may cast an ordinary ballot, but votes cast for federal candidates will not count

If administrators fail to obtain a match using the information provided by the voter, the local administrator will attempt to contact the voter twice, to obtain corrected information. If that fails, the Secretary of State will also attempt to contact the voter twice. If that, too, fails, the voter will still be registered and permitted to cast an ordinary ballot. However, votes cast by the voter for federal candidates will not be counted.

Source: Phone conversation, Multnomah County (Portland) Elections Division, July 16, 2008.

 

 

Challenges

Pre-election challenges

Challenges decided by local election official

The county clerk, an elections official, or any voter shall challenge the ballot of any person offering to vote whom the clerk, official or voter knows or suspects not to be a qualified voter. ORS 254.415. A person's ballot may be challenged at any time before the ballot is removed from its return envelope for processing. The county clerk shall examine the challenge and determine if the person is validly registered to vote and if the vote was properly cast. ORS 254.426. The ballot shall be counted only if the county clerk determines the person is validly registered. This language implies that the county clerk's decision is final and nothing could be found that provided for an appeal of this decision.

Election day challenges

N/A

Oregon conducts election entirely by mail and does not have election day challenges.

Provisional Ballots

Provisional ballot - name not in poll book

Ballot will count if voter was registered and eligible

Provisional ballots are counted if the county clerk determines that the voter is validly registered to vote and the vote was properly cast.  ORS 254.408(5).  Provisional ballot votes are counted only for the races in which the voter is eligible to vote.  ORS 254.408(6).

Provisional ballot - voter cast ballot in wrong precinct

Ballot may be at least partially counted

Provisional ballots will be counted even if cast in the wrong precinct or county but only for the races in which the voter is eligible to vote. ORS 254.408(6).

This August 2004 NASS study says that county election officials may issue ballots to voters who reside in other Oregon counties. Counties just send ballots and registration cards to the appropriate county when necessary.

Provisional Ballot Casting Rate - 2006

0-.25 percent of ballots cast at polls

0.1%

Provisional Ballot Counting Rate - 2006

90-100 percent

98.4%

Early and Absentee Voting

Convenience Voting

"No excuse" absentee voting only

Oregon does not have early voting.

Any person may cast an absentee ballot.  ORS 253.015.  Ballot applications must be received by 8 p.m. on the day of the election.  ORS 253.030.  Completed ballots must be received at that time as well.  ORS 254-470.

Voting Technology

Voting Technology

N/A

All Oregon counties conduct almost all of their voting exclusively by mail.

Does state law require a VVPAT?

No

Oregon does not require VVPAT because all elections are conducted by mail.

Polling Place Operations

Who are poll workers?

N/A

Oregon conducts its elections by mail and, therefore, has no need of poll workers.

The county clerk may employ personnel for counting ballots or any other duties necessary to administer election laws. ORS 254.476, 246.250. Personnel for counting ballots cannot be all members of the same political parties.

Poll worker training

N/A

Oregon conducts its elections entirely by mail and, therefore, does not use poll workers.

Polling hours extension

Governor may extend

Because Oregon uses an all-vote-by-mail system, its elections emergency provisions are different than what one might expect to see in other states. The law allows the governor to extend the deadline for return of AVBM ballots by 7 days at the request of the secretary of state. ORS 254.471. The secretary may make such request when it is "impossible or impracticable for electors to return ballots or for elections officials to tally ballots due to an emergency". Emergency is defined as "a human created or natural event or circumstance that causes or threatens widespread: (a) Loss of life; (b) Injury to person or property; (c) Human suffering; or (d) Financial loss." ORS 401.025(4).

Polling place closing times - local times

8:00 PM local time

Polling place closing times - by Eastern time zone

11:00 PM Eastern time

Ballot Security

Voter ID requirements

No ID of any kind required

Oregon voters cast all of their ballots by mail and no ID is required of any voter. Oregon does not even require the minimum ID required by HAVA of voters who are voting in a county federal election for the first time, who registered to vote by mail, who did not produce ID at the point of registration, and whose identities were not verified in the statewide voter registration database by comparing the information on the voter registration form against information contained in social security or state motor vehicles databases.  Oregon officials believe that they are exempt from this requirement because of their all-vote-by-mail system.

Consequences of failure to present ID

N/A

Oregon voters cast all of their ballots by mail and no ID is required of any voter. Oregon does not even require ID of unverified first-time mail-in registrants.

Follow-up required of voter

N/A

Oregon voters cast all of their ballots by mail and no ID is required of any voter.  Oregon does not even require ID of unverified first-time mail-in registrants.

Emergency Preparedness

Natural Disasters or Emergencies

Election-specific emergency provision

Because Oregon uses an all-vote-by-mail system, its elections emergency provisions are different than what one might expect to see in other states.  The law allows the governor to extend the deadline for return of AVBM ballots by 7 days at the request of the secretary of state. ORS 254.471. The secretary may make such request when it is "impossible or impracticable for electors to return ballots or for elections officials to tally ballots due to an emergency". Emergency is defined as "a human created or natural event or circumstance that causes or threatens widespread: (a) Loss of life; (b) Injury to person or property; (c) Human suffering; or (d) Financial loss." ORS 401.025(4).

Ballot Shortages

N/A

Oregon conducts elections by mail.

What if touchscreens break down?

N/A

Oregon conducts elections entirely by mail.

Post-Election Processes

State certification deadline

About 30 days after election

The secretary of state must conduct a canvass of the votes and certifiy the results no later than the 30th day after an election. ORS 254.555.

Election contest deadline

Other

Oregon requires that a petition of contest must be filed no later than 40 days after the election or 7 days after completion of a recount. ORS 258.036. Presidential contests are specifically authorized.

Local count deadline

Between 15 and 21 days after the election

The county clerk prepares the abstracts of votes as soon as possible after an election. ORS 254.545. The county clerk must deliver a copy of the abstract to the appropriate election official no later than 20 days after the election.

Audit type

Manual

The Secretary of State randomly selects precincts depending on margin of victory. ORS 254.529. If the margin of victory is less than 1%, at least 10% of all precincts will be hand counted. If the margin of victory is between 1% and 2%, at least 5% of precincts will be hand counted. If the margin of victory is greater than 2%, at least 3% of all precincts will be hand counted. Discrepancies of more 0.5% or more will trigger a second manual count. If the discrepancy is still greater than 0.5%, officials will conduct a full hand recount. The results of the full hand recount will become the official results.

Audit scope

at least 3% of precincts

The Secretary of State randomly selects precincts depending on margin of victory. ORS 254.529. If the margin of victory is less than 1%, at least 10% of all precincts will be hand counted. If the margin of victory is between 1% and 2%, at least 5% of precincts will be hand counted. If the margin of victory is greater than 2%, at least 3% of all precincts will be hand counted. Discrepancies of more 0.5% or more will trigger a second manual count. If the discrepancy is still greater than 0.5%, officials will conduct a full hand recount. The results of the full hand recount will become the officials results.

Candidate-requested recounts

Upon request

Any candidate may obtain a recount by requesting one within 35 days of the election (5 business days after declaration of the result in the case of a Presidential recount). ORS 251.161. The request may be for a full recount or a recount occurring only in specified precincts, except in the case of a Presidential recount, which must be a full recount.

Administrative Recounts

State officials may order

A county clerk may obtain a recount by filing a request with the Secretary within 35 days of the election (5 days after certification in the case of Presidential elections). ORS 258.161.

Automatic Recounts

Triggered at 0.2% or less

Automatic recounts will occur when the margin of victory is 0.2% or less. ORS 258.280.

Defintion of a vote

Intent standard

Oregon law stipulates that votes will go uncounted only when it is impossible to determine the elector’s choice. ORS 254.505 This general definition allows for discrepancy between the judges but also allows for a greater number of irregularly marked ballots to be counted.

Election Contest Scenario #1: Unverified Ballots

N/A

With limited exceptions, Oregon conducts all voting by mail. Thus, traditional concerns about unverified ballots do not apply.

Election Contest Scenario #2: Provisional Ballots with Technical Mistakes

Unclear

Provisional voters must complete and sign a registration card before voting. §254.408. The ballot will count if officials determine that the voter was eligible and registered, regardless of whether the registration was active or inactive. Id. No information was found regarding whether and under what circumstances voter error would prevent a provisional ballot from counting. 

What Court Would Hear a Presidential Contest?

Trial Court

Contest of presidential or vice presidential election is filed in the Circuit Court for Marion County. Or. Rev. Stat. § 258.036. Oregon judges are elected. Ore. Const. Art. VII, § 1. 

Who Performs Presidential recounts?

Bipartisan

Recounts are conducted by special counting boards appointed by the local election authority. ORS 258.200. The members of the counting boards shall not all be members of the same political party. Id. The local election authority will generally be an elected county clerk. OR Const. Art. VI, s 6. However, according to Summer Davis, a compliance specialist with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, a few of Oregon’s counties by charter have another type of official running local elections. The type of official varies depending on the locale. Candidates, their agents and agents of political parties may observe the recount. ORS 258.211.