The Oregon secretary of state has rejected the state Republican Party’s effort to include on official voter pamphlets a statement challenging the state’s Democratic leadership because it was allegedly submitted 29 seconds after the Aug. 25 deadline.
The statement was titled “Had Enough? Vote Republican,” and contained recent examples of Democratic management in the state, drawing attention to the “unrestrained rioting, destruction, and violence in Portland,” the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on small businesses, and the unemployment level.
Laura Fosmire, a spokesperson for Republican Secretary of State Bev Clarno, told the Associated Press in a statement this week: “Anyone wishing to submit information to the Voters’ Pamphlet has several weeks to do so and we recommend avoiding waiting until the last minute for this reason.” (According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Clarno is the only Republican in statewide office, and was appointed to fill a vacancy that, by law, the Democratic governor had to fill with a Republican.)
The Oregon Republican Party has denied that the voter pamphlet statement was submitted late, and has filed a complaint against the Secretary of State’s office.
“We can prove that it was submitted correctly and are taking legal action to challenge and obtain a reversal of this horrible decision by the Elections Division,” said Oregon GOP Chairman Bill Currier. “The voters of Oregon are entitled to fair and impartial administration of our election system. Excluding the Republican voters pamphlet statement reeks of partisan discrimination.”
“We question the inexplicable delay in informing us of this rejection and are deeply concerned about the motivation and intent of depriving voters of this information for such a momentous election,” said Currier in a statement Thursday. “If a bureaucrat in some decision-making role simply didn’t like what our statement said, this doesn’t give them the right to silence us.”
Kevin Hoar, communications director for the Oregon Republican Party, told OPB that the online system to submit the voter statement was glitching the day of the deadline, which impeded the state party’s ability to file. Fosmire, the secretary of state’s spokesperson, has denied that glitches contributed to the delay, saying there weren’t any and that the office simply received the statement after the filing deadline.”
Currier said on Thursday that Oregon was simply full of bureaucratic systems that don’t work, such as the unemployment system, and accused the state of trying to blame citizens for its own failures yet again.
“If this decision is not reversed, the exclusion of the Oregon Republican Party statement would amount to unequal, arbitrary, and capricious treatment of Oregon Republicans by a state agency. This treatment directly harms the public interest and violates their civil rights. It is the selective silencing of certain voices,” said Currier.
“Had enough of being silenced?” he said. “Your voice, the voice of the people, must be heard now.”
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