Opinion: 'Vote like it matters,' even with damaged ballots
As a voter and chair of the Clackamas County Commission, I was aghast when I heard of the misprinting of ballots mailed to voters.
Many questions came through my mind: Is my ballot secure? Will my vote count? How can I trust government to do what is right?
Nothing is more honorable and sacred than the integrity of elections and full trust in the outcome.
Regardless of intent or innocence of a mistake, there will be lingering questions about this election and the process used to remedy the situation.
The elected county clerk is an independent official of the county and must assure the fair and unbiased operations of elections. If there were time or an allowance in law, I would call that the ballots be reprinted and reissued. However, it is not possible to do that.
As chair of the Clackamas County Commission, I do not have authority over the elected county clerk. However, my most important job is to build public trust in government. You can rest assured I am always pushing for accountability and transparency in future elections.
I was assured by the Oregon Secretary of State in a phone call that Oregon law addresses the issue of damaged ballots as in this case.
Clackamas County Elections will be using the method as laid out in law to ensure accuracy and honor voter intent. Immediate election results could be delayed by the sheer volume of affected ballots, which is not completely known at this time.
The Oregon Legislature has allowed an additional seven days to process and count ballots, if necessary.
For now, the most important action we can collectively take is to vote like it matters — because it does.
Tootie Smith is chair of Clackamas County's board of commissioners.
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