Alleged Oregon Ballot Tampering Has Statewide Implications

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An alleged case of ballot tampering in Oregon’s Clackamas County has implications for races statewide. Officials say a volunteer elections worker is suspected of marking votes for Republicans in races a voter had left blank.

Clackamas County is considered a key swing area in statewide races in Oregon. It's also home to several hotly contested legislative districts that could determine the balance of power in the Oregon House.

It's not clear at this point how many ballots were involved in this ballot tampering case. County officials say it could be as few as two, or as many as several hundred.

That's a key question to answer, says Portland attorney and elections law expert Jill Gibson Odell.

"If the fraud is great enough that it changed the results of a race, then the election can be set aside. There's a whole new election."

That would be a highly unusual turn of events and would be up to the courts to decide. Odell says a judge would likely decide any challenge quickly.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors say they're keeping an eye on the situation. But Adrian Brown of the U.S. Attorney's office in Portland says so far they're leaving the investigation to state officials.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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An alleged case of ballot tampering has come up in Clackamas County, Ore. Photo by drwhimsy via Flickr hide caption

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