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Complaint filed against "ballot-like" mailing

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January 13, 2010

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Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, whose response to a complaint was characterized as a "very minor slap on the wrist"

SALEM, Oregon: After receiving a formal complaint from the Oregon chapter of the League of Women Voters, Secretary of State Kate Brown said that her office "is going to do a better job of enforcing the laws regulating political mailings that resemble actual ballots."[1]

Brown's determination was sparked by a "ballot-like mail survey" sent out by Salem political consultant Mark Nelson relative to the state's heated campaign over Ballot Measures 66 and 67 heading into a January 26, 2010 vote.

Although political campaigns can mail out material that looks like a ballot, when and if they do, they are required by state law to incorporate a statement on the imitation ballot in bold type that says: NOT FOR OFFICIAL USE.

The words on Nelson's mailing did say THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL BALLOT but in "lighter, gray type."

The League of Women Voters, which filed the complaint, is urging a "yes" vote on the tax hike measures, while Nelson is working for the side urging a "no" vote.[2]

Kate Brown said in a statement, "In the future we will insist that any imitation ballots adhere to the both the letter and spirit of the law." The League of Women Voters said this "was a very minor slap on the wrist."[2]

See also