Liberal Group in Oregon Faces $94,750 In Ballot Tampering Scandal
Far left shill organization Defend Oregon has been charged with $94,750 in fines by Oregon Secretary Of State Dennis Richardson, after the group was found to have violated parts of ORS 254.470 by turning in 97 late ballots in the 2018 election.
The investigation has shown that canvassers for Defend Oregon were collecting ballots from voters, but failed to do their duty of turning in the ballots before 8:00 PM on election night. In fact it wasn’t until the next morning that Defend Oregon field operators turned in the ballots. One of the ballots was apparently from the May 15th primary election.
Subject to paragraph (e) of this subsection, if a person returns a ballot for an elector, the person shall deposit the ballot in a manner described in paragraph (b) of this subsection not later than two days after receiving the ballot.
The official press release from SOS Richardson reads:
SALEM, OR — In November 2018, the Secretary of State’s Elections Division received a complaint from the Multnomah County Elections office that two individuals turned in 97 ballots late, which prevented the electors’ votes from being counted. The Elections Division opened an investigation into this complaint.
Today, after conducting the investigation, the Elections Division issued a Notice of Proposed Penalty and Notice of Opportunity to Request Hearing in this matter. The Elections Division is proposing a civil penalty in the amount of $94,750.00 against Defend Oregon for violating ORS 254.470(6).
ORS 254.470(6) provides that if a person returns a ballot for an elector, they must deposit the ballot at the county elections office, or an official dropbox, not later than two days after receiving the ballot or by 8:00pm on Election Day, whichever comes first.
According to Secretary Of State records, the director of Defend Oregon is Becca Uherbelau. Defend Oregon is the Political Action Committee wing of Our Oregon. And there is big money flowing in and out of the hands of Uherbelau and her deputy director, Christy B Mason. To the tune of $8.7 Million in the 2018 election, and millions of dollars in past elections.
Secretary of State Dennis Richardson’s office announced Tuesday that Defend Oregon violated elections law 96 separate times on Nov. 6 — once for each ballot its campaign staff picked up from voters, then failed to turn in by the time polls closed.
The office’s suggested penalty for the mistake: $94,750, the second-largest fine it’s assessed since at least 2004.
“In the Secretary’s view, the harm of not having a ballot counted is more severe than any other violation of election law,” reads a notice the secretary of state’s office sent the group.
Defend Oregon is a political action committee connected to Our Oregon, the union-backed advocacy group that plays a major role in pushing progressive ballot measures and fending off measures backed by conservative players and business groups.
During last year’s general election, Defend Oregon was a leading opponent of Measure 103, which would have banned taxes on grocery sales and distribution. It was also part of a coalition that opposed measures to do away with the state’s sanctuary law and restrict the Legislature’s ability to raise revenue. Voters rejected all of those.
As part of its ground game, Defend Oregon also put on a get out the vote effort that involved collecting ballots from voters on election day, with a promise of turning them in by the 8 p.m. deadline, as required by law.
But on the morning after election day, Defend Oregon officials realized not all the ballots its workers had collected were turned in. A box of 97 ballots — including one meant for the May 15 primary election — was still at the group’s Election Night headquarters.
According to Defend Oregon’s response to state investigators, the oversight occurred because of a miscommunication between two campaign staffers.
After learning of the tardy ballots, Defend Oregon co-director Becca Uherbelau and the group’s turned them in to Multnomah County elections officials. The county’s election director, Tim Scott, filed a complaint with the state on Nov. 9.
“From the very beginning, Defend Oregon has taken responsibility for the mistake during the November 2018 election that resulted in some ballots being turned in late,” it reads in part. “Throughout the entire process, we have fully cooperated with the Secretary of State’s investigation into the matter. Increasing access to the ballot is central to our work at Defend Oregon, so we take this mistake very seriously and sincerely apologize to impacted voters who entrusted us with their ballots.”
Uherbelau added that the mistake prompted Defend Oregon to review its own ballot collection protocol.
Defend Oregon will need to either pay the full fine, or challenge it in court. A spokesperson for Our Oregon said that the organization is currently still reviewing its options for a potential challenge.