Elections and Audits Updates from Secretary Clarno

Newsletter from Secretary Bev Clarno

900 Court Street NE, Salem, Oregon 97310  -  oregon.sos@oregon.gov

News from the Secretary of State

2020 Census

You may know that the next federal census takes place in 2020. The information gained during this census will be used to redraw Congressional and legislative district boundaries for the next decade. Under Article IV, section 6, of the Oregon Constitution, the Legislature must try to agree on what those new boundaries will be. If it does not, or if it does so inadequately, the Secretary of State’s Office must redraw the lines itself. Due to rapid population growth over the last ten years, Oregon is expected to gain a Congressional seat in the next redistricting—bringing us from five members in the U.S. House of Representatives to six. As such, it is important that the information gathered during the census be as accurate as possible. Our office has been asked to assist in outreach efforts to communicate that importance and encourage all Oregonians to participate in the census—particularly some of the traditionally hard-to-count populations, such as young children, racial and ethnic minorities, and low income persons. This is something we are delighted to help do.

Deschutes County Picnic

Deschutes Picnic

On July 13th, I attended the Deschutes County Republican Party’s annual Summer Picnic in Bend. As Secretary of State, and Oregon’s chief elections officer, I make a special point to speak to all organizations that invite me—Republican or Democrat. As the keynote speaker, I discussed the core functions of the Secretary of State’s Office, some of the recent audits that we have conducted, and some of the highlights from the 2019 legislative session. About 100 people were in attendance, including State Senator Tim Knopp, State Representatives Jack Zika and Cheri Helt, and Deschutes County Commissioners Phil Henderson, Patti Adair, and Tony DeBone.

County Elections Offices

Hood River

On July 15th, during my drive home to Redmond, I visited three County Elections Offices in Eastern Oregon to hear from local officials. My first stop was in Hood River, where I met with the Hood River County Clerk, Brian Beebe. Brian is unique among county clerks in Oregon because, in addition to serving as County Clerk, he also serves as County Assessor. He therefore manages the county's Records and Assessment Department as well as its elections. Brian’s Chief Deputy, Kim Kean, has served the County for over thirty years.


Next, I stopped in The Dalles, where I met with the Wasco County Clerk, Lisa Gambee, and Wasco County Commissioner Steve Kramer. While there, I also had the opportunity to observe some of the County’s historical collections—much of which consisted of “memorabilia” from the Rajneesh movement that settled near Antelope in the early 1980s. Such a fascinating time in Oregon’s history. Finally, I met with Jenine McDermid, the Sherman County Clerk, in Moro. Her husband, Ron, who is also a Justice of the Peace, gave me a tour of their historic courthouse, which was built in 1899.


Some of these individuals expressed concerns about the additional administrative burden that newly-enacted legislation will place on their already-tight budgets. Others expressed appreciation for all that our Archives Division does to help with the management of their counties’ records, and all that our Elections Division does to help them conduct fair and secure elections. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with them and to discuss how our state government can better serve Oregonians.

Eastern Oregon Economic Summit


On July 26th, I attended the inaugural Eastern Oregon Economic Summit in Hermiston. This gathering—the first of its kind—was organized by the Eastern Oregon Women’s Coalition, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to educating Oregonians about Eastern Oregon’s businesses and rural way of life. The purpose of the Summit was to have an in-depth discussion about the various factors affecting rural Oregon’s economy, from the impacts of 2019 legislation to recent changes in technology, demographics, and the environment. Over 200 people were in attendance, including local, state, and federal elected officials, as well as representatives from approximately 100 businesses in the region.

In particular, attendees heard from Ken Bisconer, the director of West Coast flight operations for PAE ISR, a Virginia-based aerospace firm that develops advanced tactical equipment and communications systems, including FLIR thermal imaging cameras, for drones and other aircraft. This technology is useful for fighting forest fires and discovering insect infestations, among other things. PAE ISR currently leases a hangar at the Pendleton airport. Ken told attendees that his company chose Eastern Oregon not only to take advantage of the large flight area, but also for the quality of life that it affords their employees—wonderful communities, beautiful surroundings, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. I couldn’t agree more. Eastern Oregon is a wonderful place to live, work, and play. Special thanks to the Eastern Oregon Women’s Coalition for organizing the event and for inviting me to attend. I look forward to next year’s Summit!

Oregon China Council


Also on July 26th, the Deputy Secretary of State, Rich Vial, gave the welcome address at the 9th Oregon-China Economic Forum in Oregon City, the theme of which was “Building the Bridge to our Common Dreams and Sustainable Future.” This event is sponsored each year by the Oregon China Council. Numerous dignitaries from China, as well as local business and government leaders, were in attendance. Deputy Vial was accompanied by his daughter-in-law, Liyan Huynh, who was born in China and who provided simultaneous translation of his remarks. Deputy Vial spoke about the many things that former Secretary of State Dennis Richardson did to improve trade between Oregon and China, and he encouraged those in attendance to see past their cultural differences and to develop lasting, meaningful relationships with one another.

Going the Extra Mile


On July 29th, I invited Corinna Tanguy to my office in the Capitol to personally thank her for her hard work. Corinna is part of the Contact Center team for Secretary of State’s Corporations Division, where she spends her days working directly with business, notary, and Uniform Commercial Code customers. Most importantly, she does it all with a positive attitude. At a time when our Contact Center was low on staff, Corinna really brought her A-game—taking an average of 100 calls per day and replying to customer emails in between. In her spare time, Corinna participates in the Division’s Quick Response Team as well as the Secretary of State’s Inclusion and Diversity Council. She is an incredible example of a team player, par excellence!

In addition, the Audits Division would like to recognize the initiative and impact of two auditors, Jamie Ralls and Ian Green, who went above and beyond and found a way to use data analysis to help federal investigators identify potential fraud in the food stamp program. After conducting a 2012 audit of public assistance programs, Jamie and Ian had access to vast troves of data on these programs, including Oregon’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps. After analyzing the data and identifying common red flags for fraud, the two were able to successfully compile a list of SNAP merchants with multiple fraud indicators and share it with the FBI. While they are still ongoing, these efforts have already led to the successful prosecution and conviction of five merchants, including a meat market in Klamath Falls with ties to a Mexican drug cartel; lifetime bans for 59 SNAP recipients who were committing fraud; and over $525,000 in restitution paid to the state. I want to thank Jamie and Ian for their commitment to identifying government fraud, waste, and abuse. Their story is yet another example of how hard your government is working for you.

Public Auditor of the Republic of Palau


On July 30th, Satrunino "Nino" Tewid, Public Auditor for the Republic of Palau, came to Oregon to visit the Secretary of State’s Audits Division. Given recent changes to Government Auditing Standards, Nino requested assistance from our Audits Division with his performance audit policies and procedures. He and Kip Memmott, Director of our Audits Division, agreed that a collaborative relationship has been established between their offices, and they are committed to speaking again in the near future. One of the things that I appreciate most about our Audits Division is that they are not afraid to think outside the box and to exchange best practices with other government auditors—not just around the country but around the world! I believe the free flow of ideas, opinions, and information drives innovation. Perhaps that is why the Audits Division has won numerous Excellence in Accountability Awards from the National State Auditors Association.

Department of Administrative Services Audit

On July 31st, my office released an audit report highlighting three areas in which the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) can enhace transparency and help lawmakers to make informed decisions when crafting the State’s budget. Both Legislators and the public need to know how state agencies spend their money. The report, which you can read here, explains that state agencies will often hire two or more employees for one position, and quickly spend money towards the end of a budgeting cycle. It also found that the State’s Transparency Website can be difficult for Oregonians to use and, in some ways, incomplete. The report makes sixteen recommendations for things that DAS can do to help address these issues. I want to thank our Audits Division for their hard work in pulling this project together, and I want to thank DAS for their cooperation throughout the process. Identifying ways in which we can make government more efficient is a victory for all Oregonians.

Oregon Youth Challenge Program


On August 5th, I attended a ceremony where Jasmyn Troncoso was sworn in to the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office as Deputy District Attorney. While attending high school in Gresham, Jasmyn struggled with her grades. When she was sixteen years old, she entered the Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program (OYCP), which provides opportunities for personal growth, self-improvement, and academic achievement for at-risk high school students through a highly structured, non-traditional environment. Jasmyn excelled in the OYCP, working as a librarian, building maintenance custodian, and phone duty receptionist, and holding various positions of leadership in her platoon. In 2006, she graduated from the program with her GED and enrolled at Mt. Hood Community College. In 2017, she graduated at the top of her class from Loyola Law School, and was eventually hired by the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney John Hummel asked that Jasmyn’s swearing in ceremony be conducted at the Youth Challenge Program, which played such a pivotal role in her success story. As both a public servant and someone who has served on the OYCP’s Board of Directors for over 25 years, being able to attend Jasmyn’s ceremony was particularly meaningful for me. It is so encouraging to see some of the real life, positive effects that this program has on Oregon’s most vulnerable youth. Congratulations, Jasmyn. You’ve made us all so proud.

Oregon Matters of State Podcasts

In case you missed it, Deputy Secretary Rich Vial has begun a series of podcasts, entitled Oregon Matters of State, to give Oregonians a peak behind the curtain and to help them better understand not only what the Secretary of State’s Office and its various divisions do, but who it is the state has hired to lead those important efforts. I believe our office has some of the most qualified agency directors in the country—and I know first-hand how hard they work for Oregonians. It is my hope that these podcasts will serve to introduce them to the people of Oregon and to inform Oregonians how our office can better serve them. You can listen to the first two episodes, wherein Deputy Vial interviews me and the Director of the Elections Division, Steve Trout, by following the link on the left-hand side of our website.

As always, it is an honor to serve as your Secretary of State.


Bev Clarno signature

Bev Clarno