False Allegations About Oregon’s Vote-by-Mail System Rebutted by Clarno

Oregon’s election system is under attack after a Facebook group titled “My party was changed Oregon” launched to express anger over their party affiliation allegedly being changed in the recent election. This attack comes along with President Trump’s own negative remarks made on Twitter about vote-by-mail systems, earning him his first fact-check warning from the website.

Notably, it was right-wing Oregon Republican Secretary of State Bev Clarno’s administration that alerted the social media companies to the falsehoods on their platforms.   

Here’s what really happened: It’s been common in recent years for Oregon voters to complain about receiving non-partisan ballots for elections. This often occurs when people are infrequent voters and have unknowingly been registered as non-partisan for years.    

Misinformation merchants continue: On May 18, Gateway Pundit, a website known for spreading misinformation, posted an unverified claim that Oregon officials changed hundreds of Republican voter ballots to nonpartisan. Other claims soon followed, including on Facebook and Twitter, which have since taken care to flag these posts and similar ones as “partly false” or have suspended accounts associated with the claims.    

Despite attempts to stop these groups from spreading more falsehoods, founder of “My party was changed Oregon,” Nicole Chaisson, said she is planning on launching paid Facebook ads to solicit similar stories. Aside from this tactic, Chaisson is also sending voters’ complaints to Rep. Mike Nearman (R) from Independence to gain his assistance in the matter. Though not personally affected, Chaisson claims that peers of hers have been experiencing the issue, and that they “rely on social media” to tell their story.    

Chaisson also recently announced that she has been in touch with the Trump campaign focused on “elections security,” and that the staffer she spoke to explained that Trump is “more worried about the general (election).    

As OregonLive explained, confusion about ballots and party affiliation has been an issue since Oregon’s automatic voter registration law was implemented in 2016. This is because those who have not previously registered to vote are automatically placed as non-affiliated when they receive or renew a driver’s license of state ID card.    

By Cara Nixon