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DPO PRESS RELEASE

Knute Buehler Joins Republican War on Voting, Questions Oregon's Vote-By-Mail System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PORTLAND, Oregon (September 26, 2012) - 

The right-wing war on voting that is gaining attention in states across the country has made its debut here in Oregon through comments made by Republican Knute Buehler, running to be Oregon’s Secretary of State.
 
In response to local media coverage regarding the war on voting, Republican Knute Buehler has twice complained that it takes “more identification to rent a video at Blockbuster than it does to register to vote” and on Oregon’s vote-by-mail system he says, “there are concerns about undue pressure to vote, because you don't have the privacy of a polling booth.”
 
The statements are eerily similar to other Republicans who allege that American elections are wrought with fraud. Knute Buehler, in an attempt to mislead the public about the integrity Oregon’s elections, has fallen in line with the ideology of the far right whose aim is to suppress voter turnout.
 
“Knute Buehler’s statements aim to scare Oregonians into believing that our elections aren’t secure, the same false premise on which the right-wing war on voting is based,” stated Meredith Wood Smith, chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon.  “Using fear to undermine our most fundamental right as Americans is disturbing.  I have no doubt that Buehler would open Oregon’s door to the war on voting if given the power of the Secretary of State’s office.”
 
Over 30 states have considered, and many have passed, new laws that limit access to the ballot box.  In passing these laws, proponents allege that there is rampant fraud happening in elections.  But in reality there is no evidence of widespread fraud in Oregon or any other state.
 
The true intent behind the influx of statewide voter suppression efforts, as revealed in comments made by Mike Turzai, Republican Majority Leader from Pennsylvania, is to suppress voter turnout, particularly among the poor and minority citizens who tend to support Democrats. In touting his party’s legislative accomplishments, Turzai said, “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — done.”
 
The Brennan Center for Justice concludes these laws could make it more difficult “for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots” in the 2012 election.
 
With no end in sight, the question before Oregonians is: Will the war on voting come to Oregon?
   
“Knute Buehler raises false concerns about voter fraud and doesn’t trust vote-by-mail,” added Smith.  “These statement raise real concerns about Knute Buehler.  Someone who uses scare tactics to mislead Oregonians about voter fraud and the integrity of our vote-by-mail system is not someone who should be overseeing all of Oregon’s elections.  The clear choice – the only choice – is to reelect Kate Brown.”

Find out all the facts about Knute Buehler at knutebuehlerfacts.com.

Contact: Trent Lutz, Executive Director director [at] dpo [dot] org (503) 239-8625

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