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Democrats highlight recall complaints

The party outlined allegations made in three separate complaints filed by voters against the leaders of two political action committees.

Rep. Tiffiny MitchellThe Democratic Party of Oregon is calling attention to a trio of elections complaints filed against the two political action committees involved in the effort to recall Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell, D-Astoria. 

In a press release Thursday, the party outlined allegations made in three separate complaints filed by voters against the leaders of two political action committees heading the recall effort. That included Darren Mead of the Recall Tiffiny Mitchell PAC, as well as Andrew Miller and Carol Russell of Timber Unity PAC.

Ben Hamar, Ken Potter and Linda Martin — all three of whom are electors of the north coast district — say that materials mailed to voters in Mitchell's district and found on social media include false information regarding her voting record on two bills that never made it to a vote.

That would constitute a violation of the Oregon Secretary of State's recall manual which says all statements of fact in recall campaign materials must be true. 

Hamar's complaint outlines an allegation that Timber Unity has not reported campaign expenditures on Facebook advertisements they've purchased urging voters to sign the recall petition. 

Martin's letter also alleges that the campaign has directed circulators of the recall petition to gather signatures from people even if they're unsure whether they're actually voters within Mitchell's district, also a violation of the state recall manual and Oregon law. 

"As this group abuses the recall process in an effort to overturn the will of the voters, it is no surprise that they are uninterested in following the rules," said KC Hanson, chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. "With a short time for them to collect signatures, we are urging Secretary of State Bev Clarno to act swiftly in investigating these complaints." 

According to Elections Division Director Steve Trout, the Secretary of State's Office has launched a formal investigation into the complaints, but he wasn't able to comment any further as the investigation is ongoing. Trout said that there are both civil and criminal penalties for violating state elections rules. 

DPO Spokeswoman Molly Woon said Thursday that the party has mobilized to bring attention to these complaints due to the severity of the allegations brought forward by these three individuals, as well as the ticking clock. Supporters of the petition to recall Mitchell have until Dec. 4 to submit the required 4,883 signatures for a vote to be called. 

"We can't let instances like this that are so egregious and so clearly false go without notice," Woon said. "We have to call attention to it, and we have to do something to try to stop this behavior."