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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Officials Recommend Legislative Fix to Improve Registration Procedures
(Salem, OR) - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reported to the Secretary of State's Elections Division that its investigation into multiple allegations of voter registration fraud has concluded. Although the investigation confirmed instances of wrongdoing by some persons involved in voter registration solicitation before the 2004 General Election, DOJ did not recommend that any person or organization involved in solicitation be criminally prosecuted.
"Our investigation was thorough and comprehensive and concludes that insufficient evidence exists to commence criminal prosecution against the organizations and individuals named in the complaints," stated Attorney General Hardy Myers. He added, "The problems that occurred in voter registration efforts across the state, however, confirms my belief that Oregonians would be served well by increased safeguards in this area."
In 2004, DOJ responded to a request by the Secretary of State to investigate complaints by 130 Oregon voters received by the Elections Division regarding potential violations of state election laws when they tried to register. The primary complaints of unlawful activity were that registration solicitors had destroyed or discarded completed registration cards, or simply failed to file them with the appropriate election office, and that solicitors had filed forged or altered registration cards. The complaints named individuals, as well as several organizations involved in voter registration, including two private companies – Sproul & Associates and Arno Political Consultants.
"Even though there were no prosecutions brought, the fact is that some altered and forged cards were found," said Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. "We need legislation that will extend the ban on paying per signature to voter registration cards so we cut out the incentive for fraud."
The Secretary of State and Attorney General believe that the potential for fraud in voter registration is a problem that warrants attention in the next legislative session. They will seek to enact legislation in 2007 to improve efficiency and accuracy in Oregon's voter registration process by banning the practice of paying per signature for voter registration cards.
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