Voter Scam Alert

By Charlie Burr of Portland, Oregon. These days, Charlie is campaign manager for the Coalition for Real Insurance Reform (No on 35).

Earlier today, Oregon's top election officer, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury issued an emergency voters' alert to warn voters about a misleading document arriving in their mailboxes.

Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians have received fake Voters' Pamphlets. The front cover reads "VOTERS' GUIDE FOR THE STATE OF OREGON" and contains many inaccurate statements.

Do not be fooled - this is NOT an official "Voters' Pamphlet." Instead, it is a deceptive and misleading attempt to deceive voters by the sponsors of Measure 35, which would limit Oregonians' jury rights.

"Voters should put this piece of trash where it belongs: in the recycling bin," said Bradbury.

Constitutional Amendment 35 is opposed by over 40 organizations, including the Oregon Consumer League, AARP, Fire Fighters, Teachers, Injured Workers' Alliance, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, Brain Injury Association of Oregon, and many others because it limits a basic, fundamental right: the right to trial by jury. To get more information, visit

But most importantly, don't be fooled by this cheap and dishonest political stunt by the measure 35 campaign. Please VOTE NO on Constitutional Amendment 35.

Please warn everyone you know about this scam.


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    The other ballot measure outrage this weekend? Despite being relentless hammers in the comments to my "no on 36" post by people who couldn't stand the fact that I called the masterminds of M36 bigots, those self-same mastermind are currently running an ad full of Oregon teachers raising the spectre of schoolchildren being taught horrible nasty things about homosexuality if M36 doesn't pass.

    Now, I'm sorry. But underlying that tactic is sheer bigotry, and I'm pretty damned tired of people telling me I'm not allowed to say it.

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    "relentlessly hammered"

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    Also: If someone out there can help me get a transcript of the M36 ad in question, I would be greatly appreciative.

  • Mike D (unverified)

    Okay, let me get this straight. According to Bradbury, it's a scam when a campaign designs a political brochure to look like the voter's pamphlet and mails it out on their own dime.

    BUT IT'S NOT A SCAM when he allows fake articles that ridicule religion to actually APPEAR IN THE OFFICIAL PAMPHLET?

    Is it only abuse when it supports your opinion but not abuse when it doesn't. Is it free speech only when you talk but it's hate speech when others don't agree with you?

    Has everyone become so partisan that they no longer see how unhinged they are?

  • LC (unverified)

    Mike is right on this one. What the hell is Bradbury doing? He admits that it is legal and condemns it anyway, but remains mum regarding intentionally deceptive Ballot measure statements in the official voters guide.

    Here's the real question:

    Does anyone really think Bradbury would have told voters to throw a legal campaign mailer "into the trash bin" if the No on 36 campaign had come up with idea?

    Once again, Bradbury's partisan colors are showing. Someday D's with integrity will recognize that the ends don't justify the means and demand better from their SoS.

    But not this year.

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    Well, now, wait a minute. Are you guys suggesting that the Secretary of State or the Elections Division should censor statements in the Voters' Pamphlet based on their content? That they should read every submitted entry, and evaluate whether it's serious enough?

    How would you tell the difference between someone who's satirizing a certain perspective, and someone who's deadly serious about that very same perspective? The words would be exactly the same. Yeah, satire is in the eye of the beholder - and I know when I see it - but we're talking about a legal standard for censoring political speech here.

    Would you have the government investigating the underlying intent and thought process of every person submitting an argument for the Voters' Pamphlet?

    I think the answer is no. No from a free speech standpoint. No from a government intrusion and red tape standpoint. No from a cost standpoint.

  • LC (unverified)

    I never suggested Bradbury should try to filter the voter's pamphlet. My point is that in light of the (legal) voter's pamphlet parodies (designed to fool some voters) it was hypocritical for Bradbury to condemn legal campaign literature for having a similar tendency.

    Bradbury's response should have been the same as with the voter's pamphlet parodies, he should not have used his office to condemn legal political speech.

    BTW, Kari, you never answered my question:

    Does anyone really believe that Bradbury would have told voters to throw away campaign material from the anti-36 campaign (or 37 for that matter) if it had employed the same strategy?

  • Becky (unverified)

    Some conservative groups got together and put out a glossy 4-color voter guide four years ago and it engendered the same sort of response from the S.O.S. office. They were shocked - shocked! - at the impact it had. Lots of groups put out voter guides, and they have every right to do so. Unless this one (which I have yet to see) actually LOOKS like the official voter guide, Bradbury ought to shut his trap. I don't see how anyone can observe what is going on there and not see partisanship politics, even if you don't like the lies published in this voter guide. There is no reason why the S.O.S. office, which routinely writes law to make the initiative process more difficult, can't write a law that protects the integrity of the official voter pamphlet by prohibiting publications that mock it in appearance.

    I don't, however, think the S.O.S. has any business censoring voter pamphlet statements, though I could see the validity of either limiting them to a single 2-3 page argument from each side and not allowing others to be published. The state loses a lot of money doing nothing more than printing and mailing out political ads that may or may not be true, and the fact that these arguments come in the official voter guide lends them an air of credibility they don't always deserve.

  • Randy (unverified)

    Well, I can see a difference.

    Doesn't the State's Voters Guide also contain certain statutory language and ballot title language and Legislative Committee explanatory paragraphs, that give it at least a balanced perspective? Things that are probably lacking in the private mailer?

    I suppose I'd agree that Bradbury appears to be more "partisan" in his official duties the past 15 months or so...

    Do you think a Republican would act any differently?

    Anyone remember Kathleen Harris? (Didn't she parlay her actions into a House seat?)

    If the Rs are so concerned about the integrity of the S.O.S. office, why don't they put up a credible candidate? If Betsy Close wins, we'll have our own Kathleen Harris.

  • Becky (unverified)

    Randy -

    I'm sorry to see you resorting to finger pointing to justify Bradbury's actions. Of course, Republicans would do the same thing. That's one of the reasons I'm a registered Independent. I don't know why Republicans won't put up a credible candidate, and I certainly don't want an Oregon version of Kathryn Harris, but that doesn't give Bradbury carte blanche to do whatever he pleases. I would find it terribly refreshing if he just did his job with integrity and resisted the urge to jump into the partisan fray.

    And whoever said campaign pieces had to be fair and balanced anyway? I get union voter guides mailed to me, and they don't give both sides of the issues. I'll bet you wouldn't have a problem with them.

    Having been involved in writing those "balanced" voter pamphlet statements, I can assure you there is no such thing. Voters must beware. It's always been that way and it always will be.

  • Greg (unverified)

    I received one of the pamphlets and, to answer Becky's question: Unless this one (which I have yet to see) actually LOOKS like the official voter guide, Bradbury ought to shut his trap.

    Yes, it does. That's the problem. The inside is virtually identical to the real voters' pamphlet. The font, spacing, style, etc. is all the same. The only thing that is missing is the arguments in opposition. The cover differs in that it has no picture or state seal on it.

    It is deliberately misleading and easily mistaken for an official piece of election mail. The only real indication that it is a partisan piece is the easily-ovelooked "Yes on 35" icon under the postmark, the rest is obviously intended to masquerade as an official mailing.

  • randy (unverified)


    "I'm sorry to see you resorting to finger pointing to justify Bradbury's actions"

    I'm not justifying Bradbury's actions (nor those of Ms. Harris).

    I'm just saying I understand that those things do happen. Although I'd say that the actions of Ms. Harris had far greater impact on the country than Mr. Bradbury's actions will on the state.

    I cannot find in your comment any response to my thesis -- which is the State's Guide is intended to present at least some modicum of balanced comment, along with required ballot title and explanation language.

    I haven't seen this other Guide -- but seems to me the designers sure thought something was to be gained by aping the look and style of the official Guide.

    Of course, discussions and press coverage of the issue has yielded the designers far more exposure than they probably originally planned.

    "I would find it terribly refreshing if he just did his job with integrity and resisted the urge to jump into the partisan fray."

    Ahh... if more of our elected officials would act with integrity...

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