06-25-2017  1:37 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County Saturday, Sunday

Temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s this weekend ...

Multnomah County Leaders Release Statement on Safety at Summer Events

Officials advise public to check in, have a plan and be aware at public events ...

Portland Musician, Educator Thara Memory Dies

Grammy-winning Trumpeter, composer, teacher died Saturday at the age of 68 ...

St. Johns Center for Opportunity to Host Meet the Employer Event June 27

Employers represented will include Mary’s Harvest and Del Monte ...

New Self-Defense Organization Offers Training to Youth in Multnomah County

EMERJ-SafeNow offers July classes for children ages 8-10 and youth ages 15-19 ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Our Children Deserve High Quality Teachers

It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers ...

Civil Rights Groups Ask for Broad Access to Affordable Lending

Charlene Crowell writes that today’s public policy housing debate is also an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and...

Criminal Justice Disparities Present Barriers to Re-entry

Congressional Black Caucus Member Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) writes about the fight to reduce disparities in our criminal justice...

Bill Maher Betrayed Black Intellectuals

Armstrong Williams talks about the use of the n-word and the recent Bill Maher controversy ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Ballots are prepared for counting at Multnomah County election headquarters in Portland, Ore. May 17, 2016.The Oregon agency in charge of elections in the state says more than 1 million voters have cast their ballot so far, with almost a quarter-million more ballots returned than the same time-frame before the 2012 general elections. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)


SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The official in charge of elections in Oregon said Friday that many voters across the state are receiving automated calls falsely telling them that they're not registered to vote and that their ballot will not be counted, and she called for an investigation of the "voter suppression."

"We have heard very specific information from a number of counties ... all over the state," Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

She mentioned Crook County but the clerk in that Central Oregon county said her office has not received calls from worried voters, but Coos County and Tillamook County had. Some of the calls were automated and others were from real people.

"We've had calls from voters who have received those calls," Coos County Clerk Terri Turi said. "It's been close to 100 within the last two days."

Turi did not hazard a guess on whether it was a concerted effort to affect the outcome of the election. If a person who had not yet sent in a ballot got such a call and believed it, that voter might not bother to send the ballot in.

"All I know is it is disturbing our process," Turi said.

In a statement, Atkins assured voters that their ballots will count.

"There is simply no circumstance under which an Oregonian who has received a ballot should receive a call challenging their registration status," Atkins said. "Get your ballot in by 8 p.m. Tuesday, and your vote will be counted."

Turi, who is in her 18th year as county clerk in the coastal county, said she didn't recall seeing any similar problems.

Up the coast, the Tillamook County clerk's office has received around 30 calls from anxious voters.

Clerk Tassi O'Neil said a voter telephoned her to report that someone, not a robocall, had called her saying her vote would not be counted. The voter asked where the unidentified caller had gotten her phone number, and the caller wouldn't say, O'Neil said.

Atkins said she has asked the Oregon Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate.

"We are not sure who is behind these calls, but we take this type of voter suppression activity very seriously," Atkins said in her statement.

Atkins told AP she didn't have an estimate of the total number of bogus calls. They are being evaluated, she said, adding that the calls were not a "casual effort."

Oregonians vote by mail.

Atkins' office said more than 1 million voters have cast ballots so far, with roughly 150,000 more ballots returned than the same time-frame before the 2012 general elections.

Atkins said that exceeds expectations.

Atkins says voters should use election drop boxes at this point, because mailing poses a risk that the ballot might not arrive by 8 p.m. Tuesday in time to be counted. Postmarks do not count.
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