Oregon Counties Are Defending Themselves Against A False Election Lawsuit

In a federal lawsuit about election security, twelve Oregon counties and Secretary of State Shemia Fagan have been named as defendants.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland, the 13 plaintiffs contend that Clackamas, Washington, Multnomah, Lane, Linn, Marion, Jackson, Deschutes, Yamhill, Douglas, Klamath, and Coos counties and Fagan contributed to “a profound crisis of confidence that constitutes de facto voter suppression and disenfranchisement.” The plaintiffs are motivated by the discredited theory that the 2020 election was rigged.

However, the plaintiffs also want to keep an eye on the general election results on November 8.

Ben Morris from the Secretary of State’s office described the situation as “a bit of a kitchen sink case.”

“They are attacking us with everything they have. Numerous disputes about issues unrelated to Oregon, among other things, are among the many varied topics.

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The main plaintiff in the earlier this month-filed complaint is Marc Thielman. State Senator Dennis Linthicum, a Republican from Klamath Falls, is one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs. Prior to the Republican primary in May, Thielman ran as a candidate for governor. Prior to his resignation in the wake of accusations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and fostering a hostile work environment, he was also the superintendent of the Alsea School District in a remote part of western Oregon.

The Alsea district defied state regulations requiring mask wear during the COVID-19 surge last winter by making them optional under Thielman’s direction. That led the state to deny the school district access to federal assistance funds.

Thielman told The Bulletin that he was worried that conservatives would stop casting ballots following the outcome of the 2020 election, so he set out to investigate the issue.

Thielman told The Bulletin, “When I went into this material, I did it because I wanted to show there wasn’t widespread election fraud.”

However, according to Morris of the Secretary of State’s office, a large portion of Thielman’s arguments for election risk are unrelated to the elections in Oregon.

In 2020, there was no fraud. We are really satisfied and confident with the vote-by-mail system we have in Oregon, and the proponents of “the great lie” have never presented any convincing evidence of widespread voter fraud,” Morris added.

Thielman and the plaintiffs are requesting that three “forensic photographs” of the ballot-tallying software be taken by outside experts during the main election on November 8 by each county. But because the plaintiffs did not specify “forensic photographs” in the lawsuit, election officials are unsure of what precisely that implies.

Giving the plaintiffs what they want would be against current Oregon law and jeopardize the integrity of the election, according to David Doyle, the legal counsel for Deschutes County.

Oregon Counties Are Defending Themselves
Oregon Counties Are Defending Themselves

Doyle and the Secretary of State’s office both anticipate fighting the lawsuit and turning down the demand for “forensic photos.” On Monday, they intend to file a combined defense to the complaint. If their motion is turned down, the plaintiffs, according to Thielman, plan to appeal.

A “forensic picture,” according to Doyle, is an electronic snapshot of the voting devices. According to him, taking such pictures would have the reverse effect of what Thielman and the other plaintiffs are requesting. According to Doyle, the plaintiffs claim that outside parties may be able to manipulate the election computers. By taking such pictures, those possibilities would increase.

Doyle added, “I think it’s important to note in this case, the plaintiffs aren’t saying that any fraud occurred or, if it did, that it would be as a result of anything our elections personnel did.”

Doyle stated that Mesa County, Colorado, which doesn’t utilize the same software as any county in Oregon, is the case on which Thielman and the plaintiffs based their allegations and concerns about voter software manipulation.

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“The devices are a mystery. There is no way to know what is going on inside them, said plaintiffs’ lawyer Stephen Joncus, who told The Bulletin that he thinks the 2020 election was rigged based on statistical irregularities not mentioned in the lawsuit.

Secretary of State Fagan visited every county in Oregon before the election. This month, she finished her string of visits.

In a statement, Fagan stated that “the state of our vote-by-mail system is solid in every part of Oregon.” “When I first assumed office, I set a goal to visit each of the 36 county election offices to observe how they operate and learn firsthand from election officials about the difficulties they encounter. Our local governments are the first line of defense against the assault on our democracy.

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