By Greg Gordon - McClatchy Washington Bureau
Introducing himself as a former Oregon state elections official, online voting industry lobbyist Donald DeFord vouched authoritatively to a Washington state legislative panel in late January as to the merits of statewide internet voting.
Oregon, he testified, ultimately came to the “same solution” offered by a bill before the Washington state House that would allow everybody to cast their election ballots by email or fax – an option that top cyber security experts warn would expose elections to hackers.
“First in a special congressional election and then statewide, we made our accessible online ballot delivery and return system available to any voter who was not able to use a paper ballot,” DeFord, who previously led Oregon’s program under the federal Help America Vote Act, told the committee.
There was a big problem, however, with the testimony he gave in his current job as a regional sales director for San Diego-based Everyone Counts.
Oregon doesn’t allow voters to send in marked ballots electronically, except for troops and citizens living abroad who have been prevented from mailing their absentee ballots due to an emergency or other extenuating circumstances.
DeFord now says he “misspoke.”
“There was a little bit of confusion about language in there. I probably could have been more clear about it,” he said in phone and email exchanges. “... I did not intend to imply that Oregon has expanded electronic ballot return to all voters.”