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Salem, OR—The following are prepared remarks for Secretary Fagan’s media availability on February 17, 2022:

Good morning. I am Shemia Fagan my pronouns are she/her and I’m honored to serve as Oregon’s 28th Secretary of State. Today, the Oregon Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Elections
Division’s determination that Nicholas Kristof is not eligible run for Oregon governor because he has not yet been a resident within Oregon for 3 years, as required by the Oregon Constitution.

I would like to thank the Court for its quick and decisive action. I also want to thank Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and the attorneys at the Department of Justice, including Solicitor General Ben Gutman, for their partnership on this case.

As Oregon’s Chief Elections Officer, I have a responsibility to apply the rules fairly. It doesn’t matter what party you belong to, if you’re a well-funded front-runner or if you are a political novice. Everyone will be treated fairly by the Oregon Elections Division.

Today’s decision affirms the standard that state and local elections officials have long used to determine eligibility to seek elected office in Oregon— an objective standard that is based on facts.

As noted in the Courts’ decision today “the Elections Division correctly emphasized that it is not the Elections Division's role to determine whether any candidate is sufficiently Oregonian or to examine the
depth or sincerity of a candidate's emotional connection to Oregon."

This matters because subjectivity in election law has an ugly history, in Oregon and across the country, of preventing people of color, women, immigrants, and other historically marginalized people from full
participation in our democracy. I am delighted that we are moving forward with a clear objective standard for Oregon elections officials to apply.

As a champion of voter access as a legislator and now Secretary of State, I am also delighted that Oregon’s strong legacy of voter accessibility is intact. Today the Court confirmed what we knew all
along: The decision of elections officials in this case in no way endangers the right to vote of military service members, students living out of state, houseless people, formerly incarcerated people, or any
other Oregonians. Since this question was raised in the media, I am pleased the Court addressed these important constitutional provisions in their ruling.

I also want to acknowledge that there are people who are disappointed with the Court’s decision today, just like there were many who disagreed with the original decision to disqualify Mr. Kristof. That’s
ok. Disagreeing, criticizing the decision, challenging the decision in court are all signs of a healthy democracy.

Unfortunately, here some people crossed a line. And I am going to speak to that. So let me be clear: This decision was about treating everyone equally under the rules. Baseless attacks that the
decision was corrupt, politically motivated, or biased, were wrong.

Increasing harassment and attacks on elections workers here in Oregon and around the county often begin with empty allegations of bias or corruption. We are seeing an increase in harassment targeting
election workers and even death threats toward county clerks right here in Oregon. That is why I am working with the Legislature to pass an Elections Worker Safety bill, to protect the people who protect our elections.

So I just want to urge candidates, elected officials, and members of the media to carefully consider the impact of your words. I urge you to diligently avoid creating or repeating mis and disinformation about
elections and elections officials. We are living through a historic erosion of trust in our democracy. And it is on all of us to restore it.

I am once again joined by Elections Director Deborah Scroggin and Compliance Specialist Lydia Plukchi. I believe we have time for some questions.

Contact Information

Ben Morris
971-209-5521
ben.morris@sos.oregon.gov

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