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Clackamas Co. Count Holds Up CD5 Election Results

CLACKAMAS, OR -- Oregon’s Secretary of State says she’s frustrated and concerned about the ballot counting process in Clackamas County. "It was very surprising and disappointing that the county had not adequately staffed up to tally the number of ballots it was receiving, despite our best efforts to help," Secretary Shemia Fagan told reporters at a Tuesday press conference. She says her office is closely monitoring how county officials are duplicating ballots with blurry barcodes. 

As of Monday, a week after the election, fewer than 58,000 ballots had been counted of the nearly 115,000 received. The slowdown has delayed the outcome of Oregon's Fifth Congressional District primary race, which includes portions of Central Oregon. 

New video evidence appears to show the Clackamas County Clerk letting in an observer for Congressman Kurt Schrader's campaign a full hour before the volunteer from the campaign of his Democratic challenger, Jamie McLeod Skinner. In previous news interviews, Clerk Sherry Hall had said she didn't know who let the Schrader observer enter the building early. Fagan says she saw of the new video moments before the start of the press conference, "It’s outrageous. It’s absolutely outrageous to stand in front of the public and say one thing and then to have a video showing something very different. So, I’m incredibly frustrated and incredibly disappointed and I find it outrageous that the facts came out and it looks to be contradictory to what she said."

Other complaints have also been filed against the Clerk, but Fagan says she cannot legally intervene in the ballot counting process and refused to discuss calls for Hall’s resignation, "My North Star, though, as Secretary of State for the whole state is to land this plane. And right now, the only person legally authorized to land this plane under Oregon law is the Clerk. So, as long as she’s the Clerk, I will continue to work directly with her to make sure that we get these election results to my office by the deadline of June 13th." If the county does not meet the deadline, Fagan says she’s prepared to file a lawsuit to force the count to continue. Hall submitted a written timeline to Fagan's office late Tuesday, a day later than requested by the Secretary of State. 

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