County Clerk Sherry Hall faces two opponents in May primary
Two candidates are aiming to unseat the Clackamas County elections clerk that has held the office since 2003.
Watch a video of the candidates at Willamette Falls Media Center:
Sherry Hall, facing challenges from Sherry Healy and Pamela White, has pledged she "will continue to keep politics out of the clerk's office." However, Hall's opponents cite several examples of how she has failed to keep politics out of the county elections office, including her refusal to conduct marriage ceremonies of any kind following the legalization of gay marriage in 2014.
Hall's former election manager for seven years has offered instances of her Republican Party political affiliation possibly influencing the day-to-day operations of the elections office.
Steve Kindred, who retired as the county elections manager in 2017, has endorsed White, while endorsing Healy is former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who says, "Clackamas County's election problems remain troubling. Voters shouldn't stand for it."
Avoiding such "political statements," Hall says she will not accept or give endorsements for her candidacy or other candidates.
"Elections are process oriented, not politically oriented," Hall said in her Voters' Pamphlet statement.
Hall declined to be interviewed for this article and said she only wanted her Voters' Pamphlet statements to be used as a source for this article. She said she did not want to "talk politics" or respond to statements made by her opponents in the election.
If one of the three candidates in the May 15 election does not get at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face off in the November election.
Profiles of the three primary election candidates follow in alphabetical order:
Hall previously was employed 12 years as a legal secretary at the Clackamas County DA's Office, five years as a deputy clerk in the county Recording Division, and two years as a coordinator for the county DUll Victim Impact Panel. She also has worked for Title Insurance Co.
In her Voters' Pamphlet statement, Hall points out that it is her responsibility as county clerk to direct the offices of Board of Property Tax Appeals, Elections, Recording (including marriage-license issuance) and the Records Management Division, which included Passport Services.
"Each department is a reflection of excellence as new technologies are implemented with modern equipment to achieve high productivity and cost savings throughout," Hall wrote in the statement. "Staff receive many compliments from citizens who visit the clerk's offices."
In her Voters' Pamphlet statement, Hall lists her "community involvement" in the community as a church youth volunteer, Kiwanis Club member, "Crime Victim Advocate Volunteer" and "National Night Out Against Crime Host."
"I believe the clerk's office should be accurate, efficient, courteous, convenient and people friendly," Hall wrote in the Voters' Pamphlet. "I would be honored to have your vote."
Sherry Healy, of urban unincorporated Clackamas, is running on her platform as an elections expert to replace Hall.
Saying she has been dedicated to the cause of election integrity since 2002, Healy co-founded Election Protection Network along with Mimi Kennedy, actress and current advisory-board chair of Progressive Democrats of America.
Because of her 15 years of experience dedicated to election protection, Healy was elected chair of the Election Integrity Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon.
"As our county clerk's office is where the ballots are collected and tabulated, it is the first line of defense to protect our votes," Healy said. "Isn't it time we had an election expert as our Clackamas County clerk?"
Healy is a former coordinator for the nationwide Election Defense Alliance, as well as former chair of Marin-Democracy for America's Election Reform Committee. She has served on the board of directors for California's Tangible Ballot Initiative and is a former member of VoteTrustUSA, a national resource for state-based organizations working for secure, accurate and transparent elections.
Healy is most proud of "The Titanium Standard," an election security protocol she co-authored with R. Jerry Adams, of the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition. The 21-page white paper was created in 2006 at the request of Bradbury (the former secretary of state) and state Rep. Mitch Greenlick.
"The Titanium Standard" involves a hand count of a statistically significant number of randomly chosen ballots to ensure with 99 percent confidence that the computer tabulation is accurate. Their research was presented along with election-hacking results before a select panel of Oregon government officials.
"Providing a strong standard is essential ... because a bona-fide democracy is based not on trust in our institutions, but on verifiability through rigorous checks and balances, as well as through the separation of powers," Healy and Adams wrote. "While the 'Titanium Standard' does provide a highly reliable and cost-efficient statistical formula to verify election results within a 1 percent margin of error, just as importantly, it provides an unprecedented and unsurpassed level of election security."
Healy laments the fact that little of the "Titanium Standard" was implemented into Oregon election code. She believes that Oregon is falling behind another vote-by-mail state, Colorado, which in November 2017 addressed potential vote-by-mail security flaws by implementing audits.
Healy calls out Hall for a 2010 mistake in which the county elections office printed races on the wrong ballots, and the reprinting cost the county approximately $118,000. In 2012, one of Hall's election workers was caught tampering with ballots, Healy points out in her Voters' Pamphlet statement, and the election worker was sentenced to 90 days in prison for filling out ballots for Republicans.
In addition to the Bradbury endorsement, Healy has received endorsements from the Oregon Progressive Party, along with the local and state affiliates of Our Revolution, founded to continue the work of the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Healy has extensive managerial experience as a small business owner for over 20 years, as well as Nationwide Multistate Licensing System-licensed loan officer and real estate agent. She lives with her husband, David, and the couple has three college-age children. For more information, go to healycounts.org.
Pamela White, of Oregon City, has filed for the clerk's seat based on her 25 years of community-outreach experience, 15 years of experience as a nonprofit communications specialist, and eight years as a nonprofit executive. White currently is the development and communications director for the Oregon Citizens' Utility Board; she held the same position for Clackamas Women's Services from 2009-13.
Previously, White was elected to the Canby School Board, and now that she's an OC resident, she believes that she'd best serve the county as the new elections clerk.
"This office is critical to upholding our democracy, and I have the experience, skills and vision to get the job done right," White wrote in her Voters' Pamphlet statement.
White has encouraged the county elections office to communicate more with voters about common ballot errors and about election resources like BallotTrax. In response to the idea of putting out more factual information to voters, Hall said that many people don't follow the directions on ballots currently, a response that White has called a "cop out."
"As part of my stump speech, I see the role of the clerk's office as the protector and facilitator of representative democracy," White said. "Everyone who is a citizen should be able to vote, and I want to make it as easy for them as possible."
Because he pushed back on Hall's violation of state election laws that led to a $100 fine that led to a $100 fine, Kindred said that he was subject to Hall retaliating by cutting him out of important meetings and decisions, as well as refusing to give him his yearly reviews. White was extremely concerned to hear Kindred's account of the feud within the elections office.
"So, the person who has the most responsibility in the elections process had no oversight in the last three years of his employment," White said. "Not only does this kind of retaliatory behavior open the elections office to vulnerabilities, but also contributes to low employee morale, loss of productivity and as in the case of Steve's early retirement, unnecessary staff turnover. All of these things cost taxpayers money."
White would like to lead the clerk's office to an environment where "equity, diversity and inclusiveness flourish." She promises to adopt 21st-century technology like open-source software in her vigilance for upholding voting integrity. If elected, she plans to invite accountability by establishing two citizen advisory boards with staff liaisons: a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Team, and a Stakeholders Team to take a hard look at the practices of the organization, to advise on changes, and to set up benchmarks for accountability.
White is vice president of the Clackamas Repertory Theatre Board of Directors and is a deacon at Tualatin Presbyterian Church. In addition to Kindred, she has been endorsed by four members of the Clackamas County Commission. Her other endorsements include Columbia Pacific Building Trades, CWA Local 7901, Joint Council of Teamsters No. 37, Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers 555, the Oregon Working Families Party, State Sens. Kathleen Taylor and Rob Wagner, and State Reps. Janelle Bynum, Mark Meek, Karin Power, Andrea Salinas and Jeff Reardon.
More information can be found at pamela4clerk.com.