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No 'smoking gun' in CRW elections

Oregon City voters living in homes previously within the boundaries of Clackamas River Water received and cast ballots in CRW elections even though they are no longer receiving water services from the district.

But the city’s failure to withdraw those properties from CRW voter rolls doesn’t invalidate recent elections, ruled Clackamas County Circuit Judge Robert D. Herndon last month. Patricia Holloway, who was overwhelmingly recalled in March, tried to show that “illegal votes” were cast in May for electing Larry Sowa, Ken Humberston and Hugh Kalani to the CRW Board.

Herndon called Holloway’s efforts to prove her case through an analysis of CRW and Clackamas County election records “an utter failure.” Under state law, CRW would have had to have known that illegal votes were being cast or connived to obtain those illegal votes.

During a March CRW meeting, Holloway said there were citizens receiving ballots to vote in CRW elections to which they were not entitled, but Herndon decided this is “simply not a smoking gun” putting anyone on notice of alleged illegal voters. In light of Holloway’s contentious relationship with CRW’s board and employees, it is unlikely her statements were deemed credible, Herndon argued.

During the March meeting, CRW General Manager Lee Moore noted that it was Oregon City’s responsibility to update voter records for between 60 and 65 properties it annexed between 1996 and 2002. Sowa, Humberston and Kalani each won their elections by at least 1,000-vote margins.

“For the most part, Ms. Holloway’s testimony and analysis was pure gibberish,” Herndon wrote in his Nov. 20 ruling. “Ms. Holloway is obviously a very nice person who has an abiding interest in some level of public service and has chosen CRW as her venue for fulfilling that purpose. Her commitment to public service is commendable, but her bias and animus towards the CRW Board and the district’s employees overwhelms her ability to be objective.”



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