The Celebrated County Clerk of Clackamas County

AP Photo/Ben Gray, File

Sherry Hall, the Clackamas County Clerk in Clackamas, Oregon, is a nice old lady — the kind you might see running a small-town sewing shop or knitting barn.


But Hall — much to the chagrin of voters in Clackamas County — is the county clerk in charge of tabulating votes cast in local elections. She was elected as a political independent.

Not that it matters. Both Republicans and Democrats are screaming at Hall for the unconscionable and unbelievable way she botched the vote count in the recently completed primary election.

Loretta Smith, a Democratic candidate in Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District, called on Gov. Kate Brown to take a hand in the growing controversy over elections clerk Sherry Hall’s bungling and declare a state of emergency.  Brown demurred, saying she was “watching closely.” The problem resulted in tens of thousands of ballots being unusable because of a smeared bar code.

To make matters worse, Hall knew about the problem weeks before the election. Inexplicably, she refused to reach out for help. Because of that, there are tens of thousands of votes that now have to be tabulated by transferring information from a spoiled ballot to a clean ballot. Once both sides agree that the information was transferred honestly, then and only then is it sent through the computer to be counted.

Related: Oh No! Harris County, Texas, Election Administrator ‘Finds’ 10,000 Mail-In Ballots Days After the Election

More stupidity came to light yesterday when it was discovered that representatives for incumbent U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader somehow evaded security or were simply allowed to enter the building where votes were being counted and observe the process.


The building doesn’t open until 8:30 a.m. but Shrader’s people were allowed in at 7 a.m. Naturally, Schrader’s opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, was none too pleased.


Hall told reporters that a Schrader campaign representative was let into the building around 7 a.m., but they shouldn’t have entered the building until it opened at 8:30 a.m. Someone from McLeod-Skinner’s campaign wasn’t allowed into the observer’s area until after 8:30 a.m.

“It’s possible someone used their badge to get in and someone else followed them in,” Hall said. “It could have been someone who doesn’t work in the elections office.”

Reporters at the Friday press conference drilled Hall about whether this raised security concerns with the ballot count. Hall said all rooms in the building can only be accessed with security badges, and not every badge can access all rooms. Hall also said the room where votes are tallied can only be accessed by her, the elections manager, and a third person, whose job title she couldn’t remember.

You have to wonder what else the poor dear has forgotten.

The Schrader/McLeod-Skinner race is neck and neck, with Bernie sis McLeod-Skinner in the lead. But votes will continue to trickle in for several weeks, and few voters will trust Clackamas County results when it’s all finished.



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