New secretary of state to examine election system 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.

He said the current state of technology and lack of support in the agency made his job impossible.

“Oregon’s former Elections Director, Steve Trout raised critical warnings that concern me as Oregon’s next Secretary of State,” Fagan tweeted late Tuesday. “I spoke with Mr. Trout personally this week and we plan to speak later this week and go through his memo together, line by line.”

Trout also said the secretary of state’s office used federal funds inappropriately used and may need to be returned after an audit. It is unclear who would do an audit if it comes to that with no conflict of interest, since the secretary of state’s office runs the audits division, besides being in charge of elections.

Andrea Chiapella, a spokeswoman for current Secretary of State Bev Clarno, a Republican, has denied there was any wrongdoing.

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