Former Clackamas County employee: Latest fiasco is no surprise
I have watched the near breakdown of the Clackamas County voting system with concern and condemnation — but not surprise. I was a Clackamas County employee in 2012 when, under Sherry Hall's tutelage, an election worker was caught changing votes in favor of Republicans candidates. I remember the 2010 fiasco where Sherry allowed a November race to be placed on the May primary ballot, causing $100,000 in reprinting costs.
I ended my tenure as a Clackamas County employee in 2016, under Chair John Ludlow and the first iteration of Tootie Smith, at the time well-known "Tea Party" candidates. I will always associate Sherry Hall with Clackamas conservatism. One need look only so far as her past campaign mailers to see with whom she associates.
As I transitioned to working for Multnomah County, I joined the board of NAMI-Clackamas (the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness). I wanted to stay connected to the county where I lived, had grown up and chosen to raise my own children. I also identify as a peer — that is, someone with personal experience living with mental health challenges or diagnoses.
As a NAMI board member I told my own mental health story to middle and high schoolers in an effort to raise awareness and encourage students to access resources for themselves or a struggling friend. I served for two years as board secretary and two years as the vice-president of education and support.
In 2019 Sherry Hall joined the board of NAMI-Clackamas. She served in her personal capacity, but her elected status was well known. I left the board in the summer of 2020, as the organization's abysmal capacity to address racial inequities became apparent. In my resignation letter I addressed all board members, Hall included, outlining my racial justice values and the ways NAMI fell short of understanding even basic equity concepts.
I received no response from any board members.
To my surprise, I got an unexpected email from Sherry Hall in August of 2021. Her email's subject line was "New Members pass muster" and was sent on a Wednesday at 4:27 p.m. from Hall's personal email address:
I have confirmed 2 of new members who joined @ HH last week and have one to go.
Jane Potter, confirmed Republican
Holly Berland, confirmed Republican
Valarie Atkinson - not confirmed yet, don't find her on the Statewide Voter File. Can anyone help me confirm her as a new member?
One new member joined at lunch yesterday:
Jeanette Schade, confirmed Republican
We're growing!!! Thanks everyone for all the work you do to make our club fun and productive!
My best guess as to the meaning of "HH" is Happy Hour. I do not know the individuals referred to nor the nature of the "club." I do know the nature of Sherry Hall. She has a history of election errors. She erroneously sends out private emails. She refuses to take any responsibility and is, frankly, damaging confidence in our voting system by the hour.
It has been my pleasure to work with Catherine McMullen, a proven elections official, at Multnomah County. Catherine and I are both members of the county ADA (Americans with Disabilities) Workgroup, where Catherine's passion for ensuring access for underserved populations is clear and highly regarded.
Clackamas County can do so much better than Sherry Hall. Catherine is just the person for the job.
Ashley Carroll recently began a new role with Multnomah County's Office of Diversity and Equity as the disability resource specialist. She previously served in Multnomah County's Emergency Operations Center responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as the disability access adviser.
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