Secretary of State Kate Brown arranged for Rep. Whisnant, Rep. Stiegler, and Senator Telfer’s chief of staff to receive a tour of the County election office and a detailed look and briefing on the operations.
“A first hand observation of the process helps establish the creditability of our ‘vote-by mail’ election system,” Rep. Whisnant commented. “I have worked with Nancy Blankenship and her staff for many elections and they are very professional and work very hard to produce timely and accurate election results and to prevent any faults in the system.”
Secretary Brown, Oregon Elections Director Steve Trout, and Clerk Nancy Blankenship answered questions about the integrity and the mechanics of the system.
Rep. Whisnant thanked Secretary Brown for her support and work on his bill, HB 2511(2009), which allows military deployed overseas to vote by facsimile machines. He originally requested a system which allows military deployed overseas to vote by email. However, they worked together and created the system using facsimile machines. “This will help assure that military votes are counted,” Rep. Whisnant reported.
According to the “Overseas Vote Foundation,” about 22 percent of military and overseas voters surveyed were unable to return their ballots in the 2008 elections.
Also, Rep. Whisnant discussed his concern about Central Oregon “snowbirds’” votes being counted. Both Clerk Blankenship and Director Trout indicated that the Secretary of State web site now allows “snowbirds” to quickly change their mailing addresses which should help this problem.
Currently, Deschutes County has about 19 % voter turnout and hopes for about 40 % in this primary election.
“This is an important election and will decide the party contestants for Governor and US Senator among others,” Rep. Whisnant stated. “It will decide a winner in the races for Judge for the Oregon Supreme Court, the Superintendent of Education, and the Deschutes County District Attorney. Thus, please be an informed voter.”