Fear over facts at Keizer election gathering 

State Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) speaking at the election integrity event held at the Keizer Civic Center. 

The Oregon Republican Party hosted an election integrity symposium at the Keizer Civic Center, Friday May 24, focusing on perceived issues with past elections and worries about future elections. 

A common through line for the convention revolved around the notion that there is a great deal of information about elections and it is wise to try and inform yourself about what happens. 

This advice was quickly overshadowed by the concept all speakers hinted at in that while there is a great deal of information, the things you do not know about or understand present opportunities for fraud, therefore should be feared. 

A laundry list of goals were presented with highlights revolving around removing mail-in voting, exchanging machine counting for hand counting, election day voting only, removing ballot drop boxes and having watch parties for debunked election denial films such as 2000 Mules or the documentary, Let My People Go

The event, which spanned the Memorial Day weekend, ended with an event at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Saturday and covered a variety of topics, all related to election security and the speaker’s perceived issues with it. 

While numerous claims were made as to the supposed vulnerability of Oregon election systems, such as mail-in voting, no actual evidence was presented to suggest such impropriety did or will happen. 

According to the office of the Secretary of State, “A review of the vote by mail system by the state’s Legislative Fiscal Office found from 2000-2019 there were approximately 61 million ballots cast. Of those, 38 criminal convictions of voter fraud were obtained. This amounts to a .00006% rate.” 

In the 2020 election, out of millions of votes cast, residents and local elections officials reported 140 instances of potential voter fraud. Of these 140 cases, four cases were referred to the Oregon Department of Justice and two of those are pending resolution, according to the website

In addition to election security, the event also sported booths describing the dangers of In vitro fertilization (IVF), the perceived issues with gender-affirming care and recognition as well as plenty of partisan tchotchkes. 

Hats for sale at the election convention held on May 24 at the Keizer Civic Center.
Shirts for sale at the election convention held on May 24 at the Keizer Civic Center.

Guest speakers included Mark Cook, Philip Izon and Dr. Douglas Frank, all of whom are no strangers to participating in election fraud rallies. 

Other notable members in attendance included Bill Bishop, treasurer of the Oregon Republican Party as well as state Sen. Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) who spoke about the recent attempt Oregon Republicans made to do away with mail-in voting in the state, which failed. 

Sponsors of the event included: Cause of America, Oregon state Senator David Brock Smith (R-Coos Bay), Oregon State Representative Jeff Helfrich, Coos Bay radio show The Rob Taylor Report, the Deschutes Republican Party as well as the overall Oregon Republican Party. 

The event began with an invocation performed by Frank and moved onto several Oregonian speakers from Deschutes and Washington counties, specifically each county’s locally-sourced, citizen-run election integrity groups. 

Speakers from both election groups gave a presentation on the setup of how mail-in voting works in Oregon and the specific issues that arise from it. 

Mary Helos, a speaker from a Washington County election integrity group, talked about the systems used in ballot processing, such as Clear Ballot, as well as presenting situations of supposed impropriety with ballot transfers because some ballots are printed in other parts of the state before being sent out to a designated county. 

She also proposed that because there is “no visibility as to how many ballots are printed, can the elections office truly say they know exactly how many ballots are printed, where they’re sent, or if any find their way out the back door,” Helos said. 

In Oregon, voters who are at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and an Oregon resident can register to vote, according to the Oregon Secretary of State. 

Overall, there are three ways to register to vote in Oregon, Oregon Motor Voter automatic voter registration, online voter registration and paper registration. 

These registrations are added to a voter roll, or a list of all eligible voters, broken down by county. It is these publicly available lists that are used to determine the amount of ballots being sent out rather than some unknown number. 

Other claims of voting impropriety speakers discussed were the unknowns around mail-in voting. 

A voter-approved measure since 1998, Oregon’s robust vote by mail system has a track record of incredibly low amounts of fraud according to the Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade. 

Another speaker, Janice Dysinger, discussed the outdated Oregon Central Voting Registration (OCVR), a system noted by Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess as needing an update, though the stakes as relayed by Dysinger were slightly different. 

When describing the OCVR, Dysinger stated that “It takes a photo of your ballot signature and compares it to the signature in OCVR. So it’s one signature from OCVR and one signature for your ballot envelope. They have two to three seconds to look. That’s a little crazy.” 

When ballots are processed through, there are multiple stations they go through, even for signature verification. The machine will first process ballots matching the signature on the ballot with one in the Oregon voting registry. 

If a signature does not match those ballots are set aside and hand checked in several different rounds by different people to help determine its veracity. If that cannot be determined it is set aside and the ballot recipient in question is notified of the issue to rectify it. 

Cook, towards the end of the event, noted several emails from Dominion employee Eric Coomer to another employee and suggested that the company, Dominion Voting Systems, was complicit and aware of voting issues and impropriety, though this notion has been debunked numerous times. 

Dominion recently won a settlement of around $787 million against the Fox News Channel after Fox, for months, falsely accused the company of voter fraud. 

Fox settled outside of court before going to trial. 

Some of the event speakers from left: Deborah Lee, Mark Cook and Janice Dysinger. 
A list of election goals for event attendees put forth by Mark Cook, a self-styled election analyst 
Another list of goals one of the speakers discussed during the event.

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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Contact Keizertimes Staff:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

SUBSCRIBE TO GET KEIZER NEWS — We report on your community with care, depth, fairness, and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more.