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Oregon introduces unique accessible voting system PDF  | Print |  Email
By Garrett Schlein,   
July 31, 2008
Thousands of residents able to vote independently for the first time

This article appeared in Election Weekly and is reposted here with permission.

For the majority of her adult life, Angel Hale was denied a right many Americans take for granted.

In 1986, Hale lost her sight and since then has been unable to cast a ballot without assistance.

All of that changed this May however, when Hale and thousands of other Oregonians with a wide range of disabilities were able to cast their ballots autonomously for the first time thanks to the implementation of Oregon’s unique Alternative Format Ballot (AFB).

“It was liberating,” Hale said by phone from her home in Oregon, the same place where she cast her independent ballot as part of the state’s vote-by-mail system.  

Hale, along with other voters with visual and/or manual dexterity impairments in the state now have the ability to cast ballots at home using a computer program that requires Web access and a printer to cast and verify ballots.
Oregon: Women's Voices Women's Vote - An Orwellian Approach to Universal Suffrage PDF  | Print |  Email
By Willamette Week Editorial Staff   
May 19, 2008
Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote  is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that aims to register single women to vote across the country.

So Portlander Jennifer Elder and her husband of 11 years, Paul Collins, were surprised when she got two WVWV letters April 29, the last day to register for the May 20 primary, saying: “If you have moved, you must update your voter registration in order to vote.”

“My first impression was, ‘Oh, are we not registered?’” says Collins, who opened the mail. “I could swear we were registered for this address. And of course we were.”

Thousands more registered Oregon voters have been just as confused by WVWV letters since last year, according to Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. His office has been calling and sending “please-stop-doing-this-you’re-insane” letters since then to WVWV, according to Bradbury spokesman Scott Moore.

The message is, “Assuming your intentions are good, you’re causing more harm than good,” Moore says.

“They’ve been completely unresponsive,” Moore says. “It’s an absolute nightmare.”

Read the Entire Article at the Willamette Week
"Just Trust Us" Is No Longer Enough PDF  | Print |  Email
By Bill Bradbury, Oregon Secretary of State   
July 10, 2006

"We believe that our elections are accurate, but we need hard evidence to show the public."


This speech was delivered to the Oregon Association of Counties on November 17, 2005. It is reposted here with permission of the author.


We are now six years past the presidential election that brought elections administration to the forefront of the political agenda. We are now four years into implementation of the single largest federal election reform effort in history, known, of course, as the Help America Vote Act. And the most important deadlines of that federal law loom just around the corner.


I'm proud to say that Oregon is on time and on budget to meet the federal deadlines for centralized voter registration and ensuring that voters with disabilities can vote privately and independently. These are both huge projects and I encourage you, if you haven't done so already, to take a look at what your county is doing to comply with federal law.


Our centralized voter registration system is live and functioning in 35 of the 36 counties (and in case you're wondering, Marion County is number 36). With this new centralized system, our voter rolls are cleaner, more accurate, easier to track and more accessible to the public. The insight and expertise of county clerks has been instrumental in building the best new centralized voter registration system for our state, and I'm thrilled to see all of our hard work coming to fruition.


It has NOT been easy. Congress had no idea what a difficult thing they were imposing when they wrote a law requiring each state to build a new voter registration system, combine all the local voter data into one system, deliver it to every county, make it secure and try to keep future maintenance costs at tolerable levels.

Oregon: Secretary of State Sues ES&S PDF  | Print |  Email
By Oregon Secretary of State Press Release   
April 20, 2006

Download the Full Lawsuit in PDF Format


Secretary of State Bill Bradbury (pictured at right) has filed a lawsuit against Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), for breach of contract for failure to deliver the electronic voting machines that would allow people with disabilities to vote privately and independently.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires, among other things, that all states provide people with disabilities the ability to vote with the same privacy and independence as all other citizens by a deadline of January 1, 2006. The federal government can impose penalties on states that fail to meet this requirement, including withdrawal and withholding of federal funds available for elections improvements.

"I'm disappointed in ES&S," said Bradbury. "They agreed to provide us with voting machines, they didn't follow through on that agreement, and that failure directly punishes people with disabilities."

ES&S submitted the winning bid to a request for proposals issued by the Secretary of State in July 2005.  In that bid, ES&S agreed to all of the standard state contract terms, and agreed to provide one million dollars worth of AutoMark touch-screen electronic voting machines by the January 1, 2006 federal deadline.

On January 10, 2006, ES&S informed the Secretary of State that it would not agree to the terms of the contract, and would not deliver the voting machines unless the Secretary changed the terms of the contract. Bradbury refused to alter the contract to meet ES&S's demands, which then led to this lawsuit.

"We will not leave our elections in the hands of companies that do not follow through on their obligations, and we will not be coerced into altering our contracts," said Bradbury.

Oregon: A Contract "Glitch" for Oregon's Disabled Voters PDF  | Print |  Email
By Kathy Jackson, Oregon Voter Rights Coalition   
March 26, 2006

Despite Contract Dispute with ES&S, State's HAVA Manager Says Many Disabled Oregonians will Find a New Way to Vote

According to a recent USA Today article, 2006 was predicted to be the season of the “glitch” as new voting equipment was deployed across the country. The sources quoted in the article were all referring to equipment glitches – and some of their fears have materialized as equipment malfunctions have been reported in Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, and Texas. And the spring primary election season has barely begun.

However, the Metro section of Monday’s Oregonian brings to light another kind of election “glitch” – voting equipment vendors trying to dictate terms and use their muscle to change contract provisions at the last minute. There are three major players in the voting equipment market – Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia. Here in Oregon the counties use equipment from both ES&S and Sequoia, all using optical scan technology to count the paper ballots of our Vote By Mail system.


However, the article was "incomplete and out of date," according to Frank Garcia, Jr., manager of the state's HAVA program, since it refers only to problems with the availability of the ES&S AutoMark ballot marking assistive device.
A Short Report on the Oregon Summit PDF  | Print |  Email
By John Gideon, Information Manager, and VoteTrustUSA   
October 05, 2005
David Cobb and John Gideon at National Summit to Save Our ElectionsIt’s been an amazingly uplifting and invigorating weekend in Portland, Oregon. This past weekend the Oregon Voting Rights Coalition provided citizens of the country a venue to share their experiences about their voting advocacy and a chance to teach and learn from others.

Activists came from all over the country to attend this amazing gathering. Bernie Ellis from Tennessee, Karen Renick and Pokey Anderson from Texas, MaryBeth Kuznick from Pennsylvania, and many from California, Missouri, and elsewhere; all joined our Oregon hosts.

National Summit to Save Our Elections PDF  | Print |  Email
By Beth Hahn, Oregon Voter Rights Coalition   
August 26, 2005
The Oregon Voter Rights Coalition & The Alliance for Democracy - Portland will sponsor the National Summit to Save Our Elections: A Call to Rescue Our Democracy in Portland, Oregon from September 30 to October 2, 2005.
Come and learn how corporate-owned electronic election systems affect your vote, and how you can help restore citizen ownership of our elections. Top election reform advocates and renowned independent media personalities who will lead the Summit and present strategies to restore election integrity in America include:
• The Honorable Jesse Jackson Jr., U.S. House of Representatives
• David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate
• Thom Hartmann, Radio talk show host and author
• Bob Koehler, nationally syndicated columnist, Tribune Media Services
• Brad Friedman, writer and producer of the Brad Blog
• Ronnie Dugger, Alliance for Democracy
• Cliff Arnebeck, Ohio Honest Elections Campaign
• Ellen Theisen, and VoteTrustUSA
• Paul Lehto, Attorney, plaintiff in lawsuit against Sequoia Voting Systems
and Snohomish County, WA

Ellen Theisen Among Speakers at Portland Summit PDF  | Print |  Email
By Joan Krawitz   
August 14, 2005
Ellen Theisen, Executive Director of VotersUnite and Director of Information Resources at VoteTrustUSA will be a featured presenter at the National Summit to Save Our Elections,  sponsored by the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition and Alliance for Democracy, on the weekend of Septe. 30-Oct. 2 in Portland, Oregon.
    Other speakers will include Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., Thom Hartmann, Paul Lehto, Brad Friedman, David Cobb, and Cliff Arnebeck. Election reform advocates from around the country will discuss how corporate-owned electronic election systems affect election outcomes, how innovative election reform approaches from around the country are making a difference, and how we can help to restore citizen ownership of our elections.
For further information, see and
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