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Deschutes, Crook County clerks note increase in callers disputing presidential election results

(Update: Adding video, comments by Deschutes, Crook County clerks)

'The most important thing is that voters trust our process and understand that we are following the law.'

BEND, Ore (KTVZ) -- Nearly a year after the 2020 presidential election, people are still reaching out to Crook and Deschutes county election officials, disputing the result. Although the controversy over the election isn’t new, both county clerks note more calls and emails, many of which concern forensic audits.

Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison said a flurry of calls came through at the later part of August. 

“We have been receiving a number of inquiries regarding conducting forensic audits and other types of audits that are outside the scope of what’s prescribed by Oregon law,” Dennison said this week.

Those inquiries are slowly beginning to taper off.

Dennison speculates the latest upsurge may have been a result of the concluding, controversial forensic audit of election results in Maricopa County, Arizona.

In response to the inquiries, Dennison said he explains the secured ballot process and Oregon state law, to help people understand the operation. As there are many parts to the process, he also encourages people to come in for a tour.

Crook County Clerk Cheryl Seely said many of the inquiries reveal people’s lack of understanding about Oregon’s ballot process and said she continually encourages people to contact their local clerk’s office to learn more about it. Although she has come across some election disputes, she said it’s not a significant increase.

“I get people that ask me, when we empty the ballot boxes, we have a drop box at the back of the building, ‘They ask me, you know, 'How do you get these ballots to Salem?’ They don’t realize that they just go upstairs in the courthouse and we collect them, check them here, check their signatures,” Seely said.

Both county clerks said there’s a lot of security protocols involved in the ballot validating and counting process, and they utilize tabulation equipment that’s never connected to the internet for safe transfer.

“The most important thing is that voters trust our process and understand that we are following the law,” Dennison said. “And I would say that nine times out of 10, when people walk out of here, after having gone through the process and understand a little better of what we do, they understand the security that goes into it, the technology that supports it.” 

Article Topic Follows: Election
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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

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