Skip to Content

Secretary of State Clarno fires elections director after he detailed problems

ballot box

(Update: Adding Clarno statement)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s elections director was abruptly fired in a text message by the secretary of state after he pointed out serious issues with the state’s aging and vulnerable technology for running elections.

Elections Director Stephen Trout learned in a text message Thursday night, as his department and county elections officials were still counting votes from last Tuesday's election, that he was out.

On Friday, Secretary of State Bev Clarno, a Redmond Republican appointed to the position by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, announced to elections officials in Oregon’s 36 counties that “today is also Steve Trout’s last day with the agency.”

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that Clarno's chief of staff said Trout gave notice that he was stepping down "and in order to ensure a smooth transition, his last day was Friday."

OPB said Trout sent a letter to the two secretary of state candidates last week, Shemia Fagan and Kim Thatcher, about a litany of issues in the Elections Division, including denial of needed funds for upgrades and a lack of redundancy or resiliency in its systems.

Clarno issued this statement on Trout's departure:

"We appreciate all of the great work Steve gave the Agency as Elections Director. He gave us notice that he would be leaving the Agency and in order to ensure a smooth transition, his last day was Friday. We are lucky to have had such a knowledgeable advocate for the democratic process on our team, which contributes to Oregon’s positive reputation as a leader in administering safe and secure elections. This General Election was well run due in part to Steve’s leadership and we wish him well.

"Steve gave Secretary Clarno notice that his last day was to be December 15th on October 27th via email and a verbal conversation. He had planned to be on leave a majority of that time. The decision was made to ensure a smooth transition and end his appointment, Friday November 6th. Michelle Teed has been named Acting Elections Director, she has served as Deputy Director. This time will allow Michelle to ensure that the transition from this administration to the next will be as seamless as possible. Secretary Clarno has every confidence that Michelle can handle the work that needs to be done."

Read more at:

Government-politics / News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories

The Associated Press



    1. Cliff notes version –

      Mr. Trout was airing dirty laundry to two Secretary of State candidates on the eve of the election last week.

      He was critical of the elections department and cited a long term lack of funding and support the department has been receiving from Oregon’s lawmakers.

      He raised serious questions about the reliability and security of the state’s IT infrastructure even as Oregon was being touted nationally as an outstanding example of the vote-by-mail system.

      Mr. Trout did say he would be seeking other employment but he closed his remarks in a manner that suggested he was attempting to curry favor with the top two SoC candidates.

      He had been previously fired by Kate Brown when she was Secretary of State in 2013.

  1. Why should the SOS office be any different than DMV, Unemployment Dept and all of the other neglected state agencies in Oregon? Yet the voters elected the same people to office who have been failing Oregon for the last 30+ years. “Get used to failure” is the Oregon government motto. Ain’t it great?

  2. yep, that is definitely the Oregon way.
    Fire or “terminate” someone for pointing out potential problems. Don’t want to hear about , Your rocking the boat.

    Oregon Ostrichs!
    Where have we heard about someone firing employees to cover up their gross incompetence, extreme mismanagement, and total lack of qualifications?

    I wonder if the “ageing systems”, meant the out of touch Senior management clinging to “How it’s always been done”, or the computers they picked up from the Employment department after ther upgraded their system back in the 1980’s?

    1. Mr. Trout pointed his finger pretty clearly at the Oregon legislature – which has of course been controlled by the Democrats for quite some time.

    2. Firing people who rock the boat is standard practice these days from the White House on down to our own podunk state, regardless of political affiliations.
      This is the world hyperpartisanship has created.

      This election season has made me into a hard core centrist.
      Hickenlooper-Kasich ( vice versa, or something similar I don’t care) in 2024. I am against the extremistisms of either side.
      Both parties suck equally as things stand now.

      I give my political loyalty to no person (official or not).
      I favor a UNITED States of America.

  3. Just a few days ago I posted a huge discrepancy in the difference between the Oregon State Attorneys reported ballots cast and what NBC was calling 100% return of ballots in Oregon. Oregon’s mail in voting system is obviously corrupt. Trout has tried to shed some light on the problem and has been terminated- I’m sure he will Lawyer up and fight the discharge through the state’s whistleblower laws… but lets make no mistake… Oregon is not the model of fairness and Oregonians must demand that the Governor fix the problems and then resign ! Good gawd folks- could she be more incompetent- she’s laughing at every single one of you while spitting in your face !

    1. So much rage and hate rolled up in one troll, you must be super-unpleasant to be around. I always enjoy reading your posts with a thick Russian accent, makes them more authentic.

    2. Keep spreading fake news. Nobody believes you anymore troll. Time is up in 5,4,3,2,1. Must say you certainly have wasted a ton of time on these comments. Hope it made you feel better about yourself

Leave a Reply

Skip to content