It’s 9 p.m. Election Night…Do You Know Where Your Ballot Is?

What happens to a ballot from the time you leave it at an official ballot drop site and the time it is counted? Many Oregon counties have used uniformed officers to transport your votes. But Washington County has used Kiwanis club members or volunteers to transport them. Cascade Policy Institute obtained a sworn affidavit from two women who were pressed into service in May to transport ballots in the trunk of their car. They never signed for them, and when they delivered the ballots were never asked who they were. There was no chain of custody, no supervision and no assurance as to how, when or if the ballots would arrive for counting.

Following my inquires John Montoya, a Washington County official, said they are changing this in November and paying temporary workers to transport ballots. Still no chain of custody, no accountability. Montoya cited the locks on the boxes as enough security.

Washington County should follow the example of other counties and have their deputies transport the ballots. They have uniforms, guns and official cars more suitable for this type of work. I contacted the Brink’s Company, who told me they would provide the service to the county for a nominal cost, possibly less than the County is planning to pay its temporary workers. As a Washington County resident, I would feel better knowing my ballot is secure from when I turn it in to when it is counted. I would hate to think that my ballot was in the truck of someone’s car with soccer balls and muddy shoes.


Jeff Alan is Chief Investigator at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market research center.

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Hapypacy

    Totally agree. It is the counties official responsibilites to maintain control over these critical ballots. It simply cannot be handled by a corp of volunteers with no legal authority.

    I site a personal example one year as a poll site watcher for our Central Commmittee. A woman came in, walked around like she was delirious. The officer advised her time was running out for her to drop her ballot. After the voting time closed she decided to put in her ballot. The police officer authoritatively told her she was no longer able to use the drop site, and her options.

    Volunteers can do the job if all goes well. But, it’s the sticky times, when they are most needed. This is much to important a function to hand over to someone without the knowledge or authority to handle the situations that may arise.

    • Alan

      Sloppy ballots = sloppy election = bad democracy

      • David from Eugene

        Or Questionable ballots= Questionable election=Questionable Results= Civil Unrest

  • John Fairplay

    I’m also concerned about what happens to my ballot once it arrives at the County elections office. There, supposedly, the signature is verified, and my ballot is removed from its “security envelope.” It is placed in a stack with all the other ballots, to await an election-night count. After this pile is created, there is no way to identify a ballot as the one I sent in. If someone stole my ballot and forged my signature, it would be impossible for me to contact the County and have that specific ballot thrown out. This is a process that I believe is being taken advantage of to a tremendous degree.

  • Walter

    Let’s all remember that HB 3090 (2005) would have required registration with the County Clerk’s Office for ballot handlers.

    It was killed in the Senate. Nearly all the Democrats voted FOR it, and the Republicans locked up against it, even though House Republcians like Jerry Krummel were pushing for it.

    You got a problem with this issue, take it up with Ted Ferrioli.

  • JesseO

    Um, so?

    You have no evidence there’s a problem (i.e. that ballots were lost).

    Why are you forcing taxpayers to pay more for something when there’s no problem?

  • DarePDX

    Jesse-

    Your looking at this incorrectly. See, there is evidence that a problem of ballot tampering could exist. You’ve got no evidence that there isn’t a problem.

    The above evidence that their is a poor chain of custody is all the evidence required. If this was tax information, criminal evidence, or better yet the medical records of AIDS patients Oregon would step up without question and improve the chain and integrity of the transport of this information.

    The cost of securing our ballots is less expensive than what our state pays to secure other types of personal information. A ballot is a fundamental expression of our Republic and this system’s privacy and integrity is worth a little investment.

    Sorry if you disagree as long as the system keeps rolling up Democrat. If the races were bouncing another way I’m sure your take would change radically.

    • Phoebe

      Still lackign evidence.

      • David from Eugene

        Like Caesar’s Wife our voting system should beyond reproach. A voter should not have any doubt about whether or not his vote is being accurately counted. Our current voting system is full of doubt and suspicion. It does not matter if these perceptions are accurate or not, for the election results to have credibility they need to be addressed. To do otherwise is to invite civil unrest.

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