Oregon elections director fired after sharing security, spending concerns | Andrew Selsky/Associated Press
Oregon’s elections director was abruptly fired in a text message by the secretary of state after he pointed out serious issues with the state’s aging and vulnerable technology for running elections. Elections Director Stephen Trout learned in a text message Thursday night — as his department and county elections officials were still counting votes from the Nov. 3 election — that he was out. On Friday, Secretary of State Bev Clarno, a Republican appointed to the position by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, announced to county clerks and other elections officials in Oregon’s 36 counties that “today is also Steve Trout’s last day with the Agency.” Election officials in the state were stunned. Steve Druckenmiller, the veteran Linn County clerk, said Clarno’s action was “dangerous and so ignorant.” “We are still in the election process right now. We are reconciling, we’re dealing with problems right now as far as your signatures and communicating with voters who didn’t sign the ballots,” Druckenmiller said. “We’re going to have to do recounts, all of these things. She doesn’t understand elections.” Clarno spokeswoman Andrea Chiapella said Trout was “a knowledgeable advocate for the democratic process on our team” and that he planned to leave on Dec. 15 anyway. Deputy Director Michelle Teed has been named acting elections director, Chiapella said. Trout said in an email to The Associated Press that although he had already planned to seek a new job, he did not want to go this soon.