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Stars, stripes and ballots

West Linn man collects ballots each year in front of library


by: LORI HALL - Alan Lewis sits in front of the West Linn Public Library every election day morning collecting ballots for people before the library opens.For the last eight years, Alan Lewis of West Linn has been helping voters get their ballots turned in on election day.

Donned in his Uncle Sam hat, the 80-year-old gentleman sets up a station in front of the West Linn Public Library at 5 a.m. each election day and unofficially collects ballots until the library opens. He then brings the ballots inside and deposits them into the official drop box.

Lewis’ shifts outside have become longer in recent years as the library has had to cut its hours and doesn’t open until 11 a.m. Previously, the library opened at 8 a.m.

Though Oregon statute does not prohibit independent collection of ballots, it does say there must be a sign displayed stating it is not an official drop site, which Lewis strictly follows.by: LORI HALL - Several residents entrusted their ballots to Alan Lewis on Tuesday morning. Lewis collected 313 ballots prior to the library opening.

Why does Lewis do this each year? “Because I’m an American citizen,” he said. Also, he feels for people who have to get to work early in the morning before official drop sites are open.

On Tuesday, Lewis had more than 300 citizens trust him with their ballots.

He does get a few questions and a few calls to the police, but Lewis stands firm in his right to help out his fellow citizens.

“If I had to be at work at 8, I’d like someone to do that for me,” he said.



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