Statutes pertaining to Oregon election laws run for pages and pages. But, for the most part, voter fraud and related illegalities are exceedingly rare, according to Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins. “I’ve been in this job since last March (2015),” she said. “And I’ve had only four or five of those come across my desk. I’d call it a relative rarity.” What scant voter malfeasance exists almost always involves one family member signing the ballot envelope of another — something that’s strictly prohibited by law. “You just can’t sign someone else’s ballot,” she said, “regardless of how well intentioned it may be.”
Cases such as that are caught when county clerks and their staff match up the signatures on ballot envelopes with those already on file for registered voters. “People may not generally realize this, but signatures are a wonderful way to ensure there’s a match,” Atkins said.
When irregularities such as non-matching signatures are found, those cases are passed along to the Oregon Department of Justice for possible prosecution, she said.