Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A  Clackamas County Grand Jury today returned an indictment charging Deanna Swenson, 55, with two counts of unlawfully altering a cast ballot, two counts of unlawfully voting more than once, and two counts of first-degree official misconduct.

Clackamas County elections officials removed Swenson from her position processing county election ballots after another election worker claimed to see her marking a ballot that had been only partially filled out. County officials alerted the Oregon Secretary of State's office, which, in turn, requested the Oregon Department of Justice investigation.

"The integrity of Oregon elections is of paramount importance," Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said. "The Department of Justice has made this investigation a high priority since the allegations came to light."

The department launched its investigation on Oct. 31. Lawyers from the department's Criminal Justice Division are handling the prosecution. Swenson alone was charged. Investigators found no evidence of involvement by others.

The first four charges are Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years imprisonment (as determined by applicable state felony sentencing guidelines,) and a $125,000 fine. The official misconduct charges are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine.

An indictment is an allegation of wrongdoing. All defendants charged with crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

The allegations surfaced two weeks before the national election during Oregon's vote-by-mail election process. Rosenblum commended Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and her staff for their efforts to ensure the integrity of the election results in Clackamas County. She also thanked the investigators and lawyers at the Department of Justice's Criminal Justice division for their work on the case thus far.

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