Sec. of State: 6 ballots tampered with in Clackamas Co.

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by KGW.com and AP Staff

KREM.com

Posted on November 6, 2012 at 7:38 PM

PORTLAND -- An investigation into a report of ballot tampering in Clackamas County allegedly involved an elections worker and on Tuesday, the Secretary of State said investigators believe it involved at least six ballots.

County clerk Sherry Hall said a criminal violation of election law was uncovered by her office last Wednesday and reported to the secretary of state's Elections Division.

Suspect Deanna Swenson, a temporary elections employee, was "relieved of duty" during the investigation, according to Clackamas County Public Affairs Manager Tim Heider. She allegedly filled in Republican preferences on spaces that voters had left blank.

“To date, Clackamas County, under supervision of my elections monitors, has identified six ballots that were potentially altered by the accused temporary county elections employee. The total number of ballots potentially affected is still under investigation by the Department of Justice," Secretary of State Kate Brown said, in a prepared statement Tuesday. “For all potentially altered ballots, Clackamas County elections officials will determine whether or not the original voter intent can be established. If the original voter intent can be established, the ballot will be counted to reflect what the original voter marked."

Protesters outside the office Monday were calling for Hall to step down due to the tampering.

Swenson is not a county employee but worked part-time at the elections division at the time of the Oct. 31 incident, Heider said.

The Secretary of State now has two people monitoring the election and the only pens allowed near ballots are bright colors that can’t be registered by voting machines.

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