State takeover of PGP won’t hold water

Oregon Elections Division order is blatant political interference

Just over a week ago, the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division intervened in our party’s internal affairs. They aren’t supposed to do that. Oregon revised statute 248.011 bars them from enforcing a party rule unless “expressly required by law.” But that’s exactly what they did, and they did it wrong, by misinterpreting the role of the party secretary.

Who and what is the PGP Secretary?

Under our bylaws and constitution, the PGP Secretary is appointed by the State Coordinating Committee, and serves at its pleasure. The secretary has duties including to be the corresponding officer, or whatever else the SCC may direct. In practice, the role is often a figurehead, and it’s not exclusive. For many years, all SCC members have been considered officers, and able to correspond with the Elections Division. For example, we can all sign candidate filings, request voter files and so forth. And the Division knows this. As an SCC member, I signed Ibra Taher’s candidate filing in 2020. Chuck Fall signed my filing for US Senate in 2022. Acting as a party officer, Chuck requested and received a free copy of the statewide voter file just last month.

That means who currently is party secretary is a trivial question. The secretary has no decision-making power anyhow. But with our internal dispute about who is on the SCC, the identity of party secretary is inherently under dispute as well. There was never any agreement about who was secretary. We made that plain to Division employee Lydia Plukchi, after she contacted former secretary Seth Woolley and was told the new secretary was Justin Filip. We explained that a secretary can’t be appointed by an illegimate SCC seated by a stolen election, and the legitimate SCC had replaced him.

Salem knows our party better than we do?

But for some reason, the Division not only decided they knew who the secretary was, they decided he was reliable too. We’d already told them both Justin and Seth were on the “elections committee” that threw out more than half the ballots in February. But in an opinion written by Deputy Director Luke Belant, the state decided our party secretary is the only officer “authorized” to correspond with the state. Belant did this by lifting the phrase “the corresponding officer” completely out of context. Ignoring “or as directed by the SCC.” Rewriting “duty” as “authority.” Rewriting “the corresponding officer” as the “the only corresponding officer.” And ignoring the long precedent in the Division’s own records of other PGP officers corresponding with it, including (disputed) treasurer Ken Adams cited in the very same order. The reasoning here is apparently that if they make the secretary the only one they can listen to, they can assume whatever Woolley and Filip say is true. Because Woolley was once secretary, and says Filip is secretary, and Filip says SCC members can vote each other off, Salem believes it.

They are trying to stand pat

Do you see a law cited in the Belant letter that “expressly required” their interference? I don’t. I’ve asked them to cite one, but was swiftly told the Division “declines to reconsider” and the Belant letter is its “complete statement.” So be it – let them stand on nonsense. Let them demonstrate bad faith by refusing to provide information. That will make it easier to overturn. They seem to believe they can get away with this in any case, that we don’t have the money to beat them in court. That remains to be seen. But every party member needs to understand the stakes.

The damage is severe

In one fell swoop, the Elections Division has:

  • Redefined the role of party secretary from clerical to a powerful and exclusive office. Belant specifically states none but the secretary can now sign a candidate filing.
  • Affirmed a blatant election theft by a committee. This undermines our fundamental rules of order in Bylaws Article IV, which states majority convention votes are “party decisions.”
  • Altered our constitution and bylaws by affirming amendments that failed, but were passed by that election theft.
  • Forced a precedent allowing the SCC to vote its own members off. Our long precedent is that this is not allowed by our bylaws, and would lead to chaos.
  • Forced a statewide candidate (me) off the ballot. Except for the eventual presidential nominee, we had two statewide candidates, now we have one. The remaining one, Nathalie Paravicini, withdrew in 2022 and can’t be trusted to stay on the ballot.

Greens fight back

This is nothing new for Greens. Blue states regularly play dirty tricks to force us off the ballot and run interference. But we don’t just let them get away with it.

Call or write the Elections Division and tell them hands off. You can email them at Call them at 503-986-1518. Write them at Public Service Bldg Ste 126, 255 Capitol St NE, Salem OR 97610. Tell them they have no business interfering in our party decisions, and to retract their order and wait until we decide things for ourselves.

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