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Oregon secretary of state sued by candidate over alleged misinformation

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March 22, 2012

By Maresa Strano

Oregon

SALEM, Oregon:On March 20, Bruce Starr, a candidate for Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries in the upcoming election, filed a lawsuit in Marion County Circuit Court against secretary of state Kate Brown (D) for allegedly failing to inform all parties involved in the race of the correct election date. Apparently, both of the candidates in the race had been operating under the false assumption that the election was to be held in May, when it is in fact scheduled to coincide with the other statewide office elections in November. The Secretary of State office's website, which Brown oversees, listed Starr and his opponent as candidates in the May primary.[1] The plaintiff, Starr, claims he learned of the change only because one of his campaign staffers made a routine call Friday to the Elections Division. The incumbent seeking Brad Avakian, apparently found out in similar fashion.

When he discovered he had the wrong date, Starr accused Brown of moving the date to improve Avakian's re-election chances out of party favoritism. He insists that the development about the November election be disregarded and that the election proceed in May, "when a Republican presidential primary should help GOP candidates."[2] Neither candidate filed on behalf of a party, though Starr and Avakian are registered Republican and Democrat, respectively.[1]

Brown responded by citing a bill passed by the 2009 Legislature that addresses the matter of the election cycle of the office in question, saying the terms are "clearly stated" and the accusations are "outrageous," despite the legitimate confusion reported by both campaigns about the election date.[2]

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