ORP News Release: Kate Brown Picks And Chooses Which Laws To Follow - 03.08.2012
Kate Brown Picks And Chooses Which Laws To Follow
Lake Oswego, OR – Secretary of State Kate Brown explained in a press release today that she is bound by the letter of Oregon Statutory language when it comes to the Republican “Freedom Primary,” even though that language was written for polling place elections. So why is she ignoring other statutory language intended for the polling era?
Brown said that the letter of Oregon Statute requires her office to mail postcards to 400,000 Oregon non-affiliated voters, which they then return to the Secretary of State if they wish to vote in the Republican primary election. This requirement is an artifact of a polling place election, where a non-affiliated voter at a polling place would request the ballot of the party that has opened its primary to non-affiliated voters.
In a vote-by-mail world, it makes no sense to require voters to request the ballot. it would be virtually costless to simply print the Republican candidates on the ballot that the non-affiliated voters receive in the primary election.
Secretary of State Brown says she cannot ignore the letter of Oregon Statute. Why then is she doing just that in another example of outdated election law – the requirement that all unused ballots are destroyed at 8:00 PM on election day?
“It is the height of hypocrisy,” said Allen Alley, Chairman of the Republican Party. “Kate Brown feels free to ignore one statute when it conflicts with a vote-by-mail system, yet she insists on adhering to the letter of another statute even when doing so results in a waste of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
“We’re just asking for consistency,” Alley said. ”You don’t get to pick and choose which laws you follow.”
Republicans supported a bill in the last session, HB 4174, that would have solved both issues. It had bipartisan support, including from Kate Brown. Rep. Tina Kotek, Co-Chair of the House Rules Committee, blocked the bill and refused to allow the Rules Committee to vote on it.
“It’s pretty clear that the Democrats didn’t want to do anything that would make the it easier for non-affiliated voters to vote in the Republican Freedom Primary,” said Rep. Matt Wingard, a Republican who serves on the Rules Committee. “It’s bad enough that this kind of hyper-partisan game playing happens at all, but when it wastes hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, it is just shameful.”
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