False information presents an ongoing threat to elections administration. The National Association of Secretaries of State believes that accurate information, when delivered early and by a trusted messenger, can help prevent the spread of false information.
Did you know?
Oregon’s elections are secure. The voting equipment is never connected to the internet. There are no routers connected to the tabulation system and there never have been.
Did you know?
Oregon performs post-election reviews after every election that includes a federal or state-wide contest.
How does Oregon ensure the results of elections?
The post-election reviews across the state after the November 3, 2020 general election showed conclusively that the results of the election were accurately reported and certified, as they have since Oregon started conducting these audits in 2008. You can review them here where they are publicly posted for each county.
Oregon law requires random sampling hand counts or risk-limiting audits in all counties following Primary, General, and Special elections. All of Oregon’s 36 county elections officials conducted these reviews, which require hand recounts of ballots, for the 2020 General Elections. All reviews confirmed the certified results.
Forensic audits are not currently a part of conducting elections in Oregon. Although the term “forensic auditing” is widely used and has an accepted definition in fields such as finance and accounting, it does not yet have a uniform definition in regard to elections. In the financial world, forensic audits typically trace issues back to individual transactions or people – this cannot be done in an election, as voters have the right to and expectation of a secret ballot.
Recent efforts in Arizona and Pennsylvania are not fact-finding missions. Rather, they are based on conspiracy theories and designed to keep dangerous lies about the 2020 election alive to justify future attacks on the freedom to vote. As the U.S. Department of Justice recently warned, when election records are not under the control of trusted election officials, there are significant security risks.
For further information on Oregon election laws and post-election procedures:
- Directive 2021-2: Post-Election Audits
- Oregon Administrative Rule, Hand Count of Ballots at General Election: OAR 165-007-0290
- Oregon Revised Statutes regarding post elections procedures: ORS 254.483 – ORS 254.545
Is Voter Fraud a problem in Oregon?
No. Oregon elections are secure and protected against voter fraud in all but exceedingly rare instances. In 2020, 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.
By comparison, in 2018 there were a total of 84 total reports of voter fraud. Two were referred to the Department of Justice.
A recent 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.
What controls are in place to protect against cybercriminals?
We closely monitor our systems for suspicious activity and frequently test for vulnerabilities. Our staff are routinely trained on how to appropriately handle suspicious email and other threats to prevent unauthorized access or tampering.
More specifically, we have programs, policies, and plans in place to address and mitigate security breaches. We work with partners such as: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to ensure best practices are used to protect our elections and their supporting systems.
We practice Defense in Depth with administrative, technical, and managerial security controls. Layers of security controls provide several ways of monitoring and responding to malicious access attempts to our systems. Any successful access to our system has been reviewed by multiple security checks and verifications.
We routinely perform threat analysis and risk assessments. Assessments are conducted by internal staff as well as contracted third parties. As a result, we continue to improve security processes and protections to maintain secure, private, and accurate election infrastructure.
Preventative, Detection, and Response Measures
We use preventative, detection, and response measures including:
Risk and vulnerability management
Network and endpoint security
Continuous monitoring of systems
Incident management and response planning
Routine security training
New Oregon Postmark Law
A new law known as the “postmark rule” will ensure that every ballot cast on time gets counted by allowing elections officials to count all ballots postmarked by Election Day, even if they arrive at the elections office up to 7 days later.
What this means:
- Some ballots that were cast on time may arrive at elections offices after Election Day. So the total number of votes will go up in the days following the election as more votes come in. These are not late votes. Every ballot counted will have been cast on time, which elections officials can verify by a USPS postmark.
- This means that election results may take a little longer to compile than in previous years. Even if the results come in a little slower, they will be accurate.
- The Oregon Legislature passed the new law in 2021.