SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon’s secretary of state is preparing an effort to make her office, the state’s top elections watchdog, a nonpartisan post.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that deputy to Secretary of State Bev Clarno, Richard Vial, said they are considering it and may ask the Legislature to adopt the change that would make that happen.
Of the 35 states that elect their secretaries of state, all but one is held by a politician affiliated with a specific party.
In places where the secretary of state oversees elections, though, that role is increasingly contentious. Candidates frequently complain that partisan elections officials favor candidates from their own party.
The secretary of state’s job is the only statewide office Republicans have held in the past 19 years. Dennis Richardson beat Democrat Brad Avakian in 2016 and Gov. Kate Brown appointed Clarno, a Republican, to fill the seat after Richardson died in February.
State law requires governors to fill such openings with appointees from the same party as those who vacate the post.