Oregon Vote-by-Mail Process Scrutinized by GMO Labelling Supporters

Published at Pew Charitable Trust

The way in which local election officials verify signatures on mail ballots in Oregon, where elections are conducted entirely by mail, and the guidance the state provides to the counties were the subjects of a recent legal challenge.

During the November 2014 election, about 13,000 voters (out of 1.5 million statewide) submitted ballots with signatures that did not match their voter registration cards. These voters were given the opportunity to fix the problem within 14 days after the election. Roughly 8,600 responded, matched their signatures, and had their ballots counted. However, about 4,600 did not return corrected signatures, and their ballots were not counted.

The suit, which was denied by the court, alleged that some of those uncounted ballots were improperly rejected because:

  • Some voters never received notification their signatures did not match.
  • For some voters with disabilities, their signatures had changed or they had used stamps for their signatures.
  • The secretary of state’s office did not confirm that counties consistently applied the instructions for signature verification.
  • The instructions provided to voters did not state that the signatures had to match in order for the ballots to be counted.

Supporters of Proposition 92, which would have mandated the labeling of genetically modified foods, brought the suit. The race went to an automatic recount, and the lawsuit sought to have the rejected ballots considered for counting before the results were certified. The proposition lost by only 812 votes.

Mathematician suspicious of election fraud hires lawyer to force Kansas to hand over voting records

Kansas mathematician said this week that she had retained a lawyer and had scheduled a discovery hearing to force Secretary of State Kris Kobach to hand over voting records after they showed evidence of election fraud.

“I don’t understand why those patterns are there, the patterns are very definitely real. But we don’t know what’s causing them or why they’re there,” Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson told KSHB last month. “They do fit what would be expected if election fraud is occurring, and that’s very concerning.”

Brad Blog’s Brad Friedman explained the suspicious activity in a recent column:

Confirming a theory initially reported by two other statisticians in 2012 [PDF], Clarkson has found that computer-reported results from larger precincts in the state, with more than 500 voters, show a “consistent” statistical increase in votes for the Republican candidates in general elections (and even a similar increase for establishment GOP candidates versus ‘Tea Party’ challengers during Republican primaries). Those results run counter to conventional political wisdom that Democrats perform better in larger, more urban precincts.

Kobach, however, went to court to block Sedgwick County from releasing voting records to Clarkson.

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Paul Davis files lawsuit against Kris Kobach over purging of suspended voters list

Paul Davis filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach over a new rule that will remove names from the suspended voters list.

Davis, a Lawrence attorney who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2014, said federal law prohibits Kobach from “purging voters.”