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Clackamas County ballots under DOJ scrutiny

Election fraud alleged, woman fired from county elections office


Clackamas County’s Elections Office is under criminal investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice for possible tampering of ballots in the current races to favor registered Republicans.

Days before the election, the alleged felony violations of Oregon’s elections laws involved a temporary, county elections employee tampering with cast ballots, said Jeff Manning, spokesman for the Department of Justice, who couldn’t confirm the specifics of the allegations.

“We’re throwing a lot of resources at this, and this is a high priority for us,” Manning said.

Clackamas County Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan’s campaign is considering legal action because of the rumored partisan nature of the allegations. Lehan is concerned that a large percentage of people who voted for neither candidate in commission races before mailing in their ballots ended up counting for her opponent, John Ludlow.

“It throws the entire election result in doubt at this point,” said Chris Edmonds, campaign manager for Lehan. “We don’t know whether this was part of a larger and more coordinated effort in the elections office.”

On Wednesday, Manning said the investigation kicked into high gear. The Clackamas County Elections office, which Manning said is cooperating with the investigation, alerted the Secretary of State’s office, and the state’s Election Division turned it over to the DOJ.

“Criminal investigations take time, they’re painstaking, and they’re usually not cleared up in a few days,” Manning said.

The DOJ didn’t release the name of the female suspect until Monday afternoon “to maintain the integrity” of the investigation.

Then late Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the county said the person who was fired from her part-time position in the elections department was Deanna Swenson.