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Sen. Morse eyes ballot collection change

Sen. Morse eyes ballot collection change

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State Sen. Frank Morse is worried about one particular aspect of Oregon elections and says he’ll try to get the legislature to fix it next year.

It’s legal for anyone to check the lists and find voters who have not yet voted, call them up and offer to come pick up their ballots to save them the trouble of mailing or dropping them  off.

In that process there’s a potential for fraud, says Morse, the Albany Republican who won his third four-year term on Tuesday.

People intent on mischief and throwing close elections could pretend to be with one party or another, pick up ballots from fellow party members but never turn them in.

Stephen N. Trout, state elections director, confirmed Friday that it’s still legal for anyone to pick up ballots.

A dozen or more people were buying daily voter lists  from the Elections Division — lists showing who had voted and who hadn’t — for campaign purposes during the general election, he said.

He himself would never turn his ballot over to a third party, Trout said, but it’s not illegal.

Morse hopes to make it so. He said Friday he plans to introduce a bill in 2011 that would ban unauthorized people from asking people for their ballot.

It would provide that the person who fills out a ballot is responsible for either mailing it or placing it in an official drop box.

“Will my bill go anywhere?” Morse asked. He paused, then laughed.

Concern over ballots was stirred up among Senate Republicans when they saw   large differences in numbers between ballots received and ballots voted in several counties where Republicans narrowly lost.

The missing ballots were believed to have been set aside temporarily after being challenged because voter signatures didn’t match the signatures on file.

The procedure is for county clerks to contact those voters and give them 10 days — until Nov. 12 in this election — to come in and vote.


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