Letter to Citizens from Oregon Secretary of State
False information is as prolific as ever, and we’re seeing the consequences play out in real time. Too many of our election administrators are dealing with harassment and threats that are driving them out of the profession. I was especially upset to see a number of suspicious letters were sent to election offices in an attempt to disrupt the November election, although I’m grateful no one was injured.
We also learned more details today of the intelligence threats that occurred during the 2022 election. Federal officials concluded that foreign interference did not change votes or compromise election infrastructure and confirmed the 2022 election was secure. However, in a report released today, officials confirmed that actors like Russia and China are amplifying false election narratives in the U.S. to undermine public trust in our democracy. The best way to protect against these efforts is for elections officials to pay attention to false narratives online and use official channels to provide the public with accurate information.
In Oregon we are doing just that. I recently announced my participation in the #TrustedInfo2024 campaign alongside other Secretaries of State. Our democracy is stronger when voters are informed with accurate information, and the goal of the campaign is to encourage members of the public to look to election officials as the trusted source of election information.
You can sign up for email alerts at sos.oregon.gov or visit Oregonvotes.gov to get trusted, accurate information about Oregon elections. We must push back against lies and false information about our elections. Protecting our election administrators means protecting our democracy.
Elections Division: A new Kid Governor, civics for 4th graders, and challenges facing county clerks
As part of our civic education work, Secretary Griffin-Valade joined 4th graders at Willamette Primary School to talk to them about the importance of participatory democracy and encouraged them to run for Kid Governor when they’re in 5th grade next year.
Researchers at Reed College’s Elections and Voting Information Center released a study, commissioned by the Elections Division, that identified a number of challenges facing our county clerks. An increasingly toxic political environment, inadequate funding model, and rapidly growing and changing workload are threatening the clerks’ ability to recruit, hire, and retain county elections staff. The Secretary joined Reed College researchers and two county clerks to share the study’s findings with the House Rules Committee on November 7.
We also announced our winner of the Oregon Kid Governor campaign for 2024: Zoya Shah! Deputy Secretary Cheryl Myers surprised Zoya at her school, Findley Elementary, to share the good news. You can watch the breaking news clip here and view Zoya’s winning campaign video here. Zoya will be inaugurated on Thursday, January 25th at 1 p.m. You can watch live here.
Archives Division: Vital records for researcher access starting in January
The Oregon State Archives is preparing vital records for researcher access in January 2024! Birth records that reach the 100-year mark and death, marriage, and divorce records older than 50 years are available at the State Archives. Starting January 2, 2024, you may request a copies of birth records from the year 2023 and death, marriage, and divorce records from 1973. Requests for copies may be submitted online here. Vital records are arranged by county and then by date, so it’s helpful to include date (or approximate date) and county along with name(s) on your request.
Audits Division: New report release examining Measure 110 grant funding
This week, the Audits Division will be releasing its latest report on Measure 110. Measure 110 passed in 2020 to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs and provide additional funding for treatment. This report is a legislatively mandated financial review that focused on specific aspects of the measure, largely around the grant funding provided to Behavioral Health Resource Networks. This is the second report from the division on Measure 110 following a real-time performance audit issued in January. A third audit is due for release before the end of 2025.
Constituent Services: Mostly commonly asked questions
The Secretary of State’s Office receives many requests for information or assistance each month. Below are some of the most common topics constituents reached out to us about last month, and helpful information related to them. If you need assistance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many constituents contacted our office this month about education-related issues. Depending on their question or concern, we redirected them to the Department of Education, their legislator, or the Governor’s Office.
Why are we allowing Trump on the primary ballot? State law regarding presidential primaries does not grant the Secretary of State power to determine the qualifications of a candidate. The full explanation from the Department of Justice can be found here: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (oregon.gov)
Where can I find information on election laws in Oregon? Governance of Oregon election laws, rules, directives and restrictions – State of Oregon: Elections – Laws, Rules, Directives and Restrictions
I need to change my business type, but what do I need to do and what would be the implications of doing so? The Office of Small Business Assistance helps small businesses navigate local government. Find more information here: Office of Small Business Assistance : Oregon Small Business Advocate : State of Oregon