Secretary of State-elect Fagan to look at election systems

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Oregon Elections Director Stephen Trout fired after warnings

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Secretary of State-elect Shemia Fagan, a Democrat, said she will examine the “critical warnings” that the state’s former elections director voiced before he was fired last week by the incumbent secretary of state.

In a blunt memo to Fagan and her Republican challenger on the eve of the 2020 election, Oregon Elections Director Stephen Trout said some of the state’s election systems are running on an operating system that Microsoft stopped supporting last January, pointed out an absence of multifactor authentication to access those election systems and raised other issues.

Andrea Chiapella, the spokesperson for current Secretary of State Bev Clarno, told KOIN 6 News the decision was not related to his criticisms — because Trout never shared the memo with Clarno. Chiapella said Trout was “a knowledgeable advocate for the democratic process on our team” and that he planned to leave on Dec. 15 anyway.

“It was solely because Secretary Clarno wanted a smooth transition with stable leadership in Elections through certification, the Electoral College and the end of the year,” Chiapella said. “Steve had planned to be on vacation a majority of that time and Secretary Clarno is confident that Michelle is fully capable of leading the Elections Division.”

Trout said in an email to The Associated Press that although he had already planned to seek a new job, he did not want to go this soon.

Deputy Director Michelle Teed has been named acting elections director.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report

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