Amy McKenzie Watts Statement on Demand for Recount
I asked for a recount of Measure 110 in my area because I could. I was uncertain of Measure 110 before the election, and I’m even more concerned about it now. I found out after the election that this measure was written and funded by Drug Policy Institute, which is based in New York, and that it was also funded in part by Mark Zuckerberg and associates. That got me to thinking, what would be these outsiders’ interest in this measure? And also, were Oregonians really overwhelmingly supportive of a vastly liberal measure, even in the rural conservative regions?
I support not treating addicts as criminals. I also support recovery, prevention, and early intervention, but this measure seems to have lots wrong with it, most notably how Oregonian voters fell for it without the outcome even being a close call. With mail-in voting systems being under scrutiny recently and when my husband and others were turned away from being poll watchers, and even in light of the recent firing of the director of elections for Oregon, I wanted the chance to look more into how the voting system in my community works.
In addition to that, it would be helpful for the general public to know how things are working from the perspective of the ballot handlers since a very current topic of conversation is about what things can be done differently going forward. Let’s not leave Oregon out of the conversation.
This recount is only for three precincts, so I hope it won’t cost much more than paying for employees to do the recount, in addition to any other clerical costs incurred. If the Secretary of State’s office decides to add on rental fees or if there are any transportation fees, I would also be responsible for that. For me, it’s worth it to know that everything is going right in our county, which I am an elected Precinct Committee Chairperson for.
Going through the motions of requesting the recount feels a little surreal, which is why most people don’t do it, even though we have every right to. But the integrity of our elections is worth much more than me giving up a few days of work or a little extra sleep to look into these things. So many people before me have given so much more. And this is part of our election process. The laws are there to protect the American voter, which we all are. All of our votes should be counted, and we should know that they ARE counted.
Personally, I have seen that the state’s voter registration list is not kept up to date year after year. I see how some things are not reported or are not adding up. And it seems the state’s director of elections was fired over his admittance of major security issues within a few days after the election, not because he couldn’t do his job, but because he wanted to implement change. I would like to know what has been done or will be done to attempt to fix the situation he described to the incoming Secretary of State, along with how the purported mishandling of funds can be remedied.
Refreshingly, when looking into all the voter data, readily provided by the Secretary of State’ office, there are many ways in which to see our communities at a glimpse. Even with Marion County including large parts of Salem, which is heavily Democrat, the rest of the county many times averages the vote out to the statistics being largely Republican for the capitol of a very blue state. Also, in general, the non-affiliated voter seems to be the fastest growing voting demographic and they are starting to rival what could be a third party.
On top of that large margin of voters who already do not feel represented, and then for an out of state group to bring in Measure 110, it seems to me like the citizens of Oregon voted for something that was maybe not meant directly for them. With this measure, there is a lot of funding and redirecting of tax revenues that are not directly related to treatment. And the funding for prevention and early intervention is almost nonexistent, which would seem like the actual type of thing that would help the most.
Also, in my precinct, interestingly, the measure did not pass. And with the recount, I’m not looking to overturn anything if all was done with transparency and accordance to the law. But were there proper observers in place during ballot collecting at each drop location along with verifiable chain of custody during transportation of ballots? There is no indication of a secure procedure yet, but we will find out more on Tuesday.
All citizens concerned about election security and integrity should be interested in transparency in the proceedings of verification and audits of elections, which should be done regularly in order to maintain integrity. When was the last time there was an audit or recount done in Oregon? I have not been able to find out. And going forward, can we, as the community who voted for it, follow Measure 110 into early next year when there is supposed to be implementation of a 24-hour telephone hotline for people, and then into late next year when all resource locations for treatment and access are supposed to be in place?
I admit that I did not read all of Measure 110 before I voted on it. But after reading it and finding out more about its origins and the tax monies to be spent, it seems like if there is any type of error or fraud happening at the actual elections level that this would be an issue of concern and a good time to bring that to light.
So, with the most recent general election having such an impact on organizational responsibility, I ask, who is accountable in Oregon? Is it the funders or authors of a measure? Is it the elected leaders? Is it the state workers? Is it the voters? If we all take the time to do something that will enable transparency for everyone’s sake, then we will feel better about the outcome of these elections no matter who or which side of a ballot item wins or loses.