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Secretary of State Fagan draws quick GOP fire for ‘Protect Our Democracy’ agenda

KTVZ file

(Update: Adding Breese-Iverson statement)

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Secretary of State Shemia Fagan sent a letter Wednesday to members of the Oregon Legislature to ask their support for her "Protect Our Democracy Agenda" -- and it drew quick fire from a Republican lawmaker, and later from the House Republican leader, Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville).

Here's Fagan's full news release:

“Oregon is often called on to lead,” Secretary of State Shemia Fagan wrote in the letter. “We were the first state in the nation to implement vote-by-mail in the 1990s. In 2016 we became the first state to implement automatic voter registration. Today our elections are the gold standard in safety, security and participation. As the nation faces an unprecedented attack on voting rights, we are called to lead once again.”

Download the Protect Our Democracy Agenda

The Protect Our Democracy Agenda of 2022 includes 4 priorities:

  • Protect the people who protect our democracy (LC 286). Since the 2020 election, we’ve seen an unprecedented rise in threats against local elections officials around the country and right here in Oregon. Part of defending our democracy is protecting the dedicated professionals who administer elections in all 36 counties in Oregon. We need to establish penalties for the harassment of elections workers and exempt their private information, such as home address, from public records.
  • Modernize Oregon’s voter registration and election management system. Modernizing our decades-old voter registration database system will help protect the integrity of our elections. The Secretary of State’s Elections Division is seeking $5,300,000 federal funds in a technical limitation increase as part of the Oregon Votes project. Oregon Votes is a new, modern system for voter registration and election management that will increase communication with voters, increase efficiency and uniformity across the state, and improve adherence to leading federal standards.
  • Begin to right-size our elections administration. During the busiest elections season in history, the Oregon Elections Division has operated without adequate staff, relying on overtime and other measures to meet the needs of the public. We are seeking an increase from the general fund to hire four key positions within the division to begin to right-size our staff.
  • Apply necessary technical fixes for clarity in elections laws (SB 1527). The Elections Division has identified needed technical fixes to several laws. These include changes to the timelines for notifying candidates of a recall or complaint, updating antiquated recall signature timelines, and updates to deadlines that were impacted by HB 3291, the Postmark Bill.

Separately, Secretary Fagan endorsed HB 4133, which will remove barriers to online voter registration for people without a driver’s license and HB 4147, which will restore voting rights to Oregonians — disproportionately Black and other people of color — disenfranchised because of incarceration.

“This agenda will ensure that Oregon continues to lead on voting rights and that we play our part in the fight against anti-democratic attacks on our nation’s elections,” Secretary Fagan said in her letter.

Download a copy of the letter sent to state legislators on January 26, 2022.

Rep. Drazan Criticizes Secretary of State Fagan’s 2022 Legislative Agenda

SALEM, Ore. – State Representative Christine Drazan (R-Canby) issued the following statement in response to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s partisan voting proposals, including allowing voter registration harvesting by third-party organizations and allowing incarcerated felons to vote:

“At a time when there is a profound need to ensure the integrity of elections, Secretary Fagan has proposed a partisan voting agenda that will fuel distrust and introduce real vulnerabilities into our election systems. Oregon is already one of the easiest states in the nation to register to vote and cast a ballot, but these proposals would exploit Oregon’s controversial ballot harvesting policy to allow politically connected groups to harvest voter registrations. Secretary Fagan doubled down on her bad ideas by advocating for incarcerated felons to be allowed to register and vote. Let’s be clear about what these proposals are really intended to do: further rig our elections in favor of Democrats.”

House Republicans oppose Democrats’ shameful pro-criminal agenda

SALEM, Ore. – House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) released the following statement in response to another attempt by Oregon Democrats to give criminals the right to vote.

“Inmates who broke the law should not be allowed to vote while serving their sentence,” said House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville). “This is just the latest example from Democrats that values criminals over victims. The Governor has been commuting sentences of killers and rapists at an alarming rate regardless of how this negatively affects victims and their families. Now Democrats want to give individuals who disrespect the law the sacred right to vote. Meanwhile, crime is on the rise and communities don’t feel safe. Oregon is headed in the wrong direction, and this is another prime example of Democrats’ failed leadership.”

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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