BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Secretary of State says elections offices are still dealing with misinformation from two years ago, as they try to prepare for the upcoming election. According to Secretary Shemia Fagan, a recent poll indicates a third of Oregon voters believe fraudulent votes changed the outcome of the 2020 election, despite evidence to the contrary. And, she says, continued efforts to prove that false narrative are bogging down local elections offices ahead of this November’s election, "Our county elections offices are inundated with requests that are stemming from ‘the big lie.’ And they haven’t had more staff, they don’t have more people to run their operations, but they’re being inundated, as is our office, with public records requests based on the false information of the 2020 election."
Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang says Commissioners and the Clerk have received a large number of requests and threats of litigation in the last few months. "I can’t remember a single one of them being signed by a resident of Deschutes County. This is a distraction to our Clerk’s Office that is busy preparing to protect the integrity of the coming election and it is demoralizing to have your competence and integrity constantly challenged," Chang said in a written statement.
Fagan says staff in local elections offices around the state have told her the requests are time consuming and expensive, "People are asking for certain things, there are then hours that go into even just figuring out what even applies in Oregon, what they have, what it would require to redact security information or private ballot information. Then, they’ll go back to the requester and say, ‘ok, it will cost this much money.’ And the people just go away and they come back and request something different."
She encourages people to get educated about elections by walking into their local office, "A lot of what people are asking for - if they just were to come in and observe in their local elections office, they would see this process that is actually not closed-door."