Salem, OR—The Following is a statement from Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan on the passage of HB 4144 in the Oregon Legislature:
"Today the Oregon Legislature passed the Election Worker Safety Bill, a key part of my Protect Our Democracy Agenda. This bill sends a strong message to those who would seek to interfere with elections: threats and harassment will not change the outcome of elections; they will be met with penalties.
"False information threatens Oregonians’ trust in our elections and has created an environment that poses real-world risks to elections workers in Oregon.
"In the months leading up to and since the 2020 election, election workers across the country have faced verbal abuse, harassment and violent threats on their lives. A special report by Reuters documented hundreds of those threats and hostile messages to U.S. elections workers. A survey of front-line staff in the Oregon Elections Division conducted in January 2022 found that 10 of the 13 workers responding had experienced harassment or threats while doing their jobs. Elections officials in at least two Oregon counties have received death threats.
"The Election Worker Safety Bill is about protecting the people who protect our democracy. Our elections are run by members of the community in all 36 counties across Oregon, hardworking elections professionals who are doing incredibly important work in a very challenging time.
"As we head into the 2022 election season, we must do all we can to protect election workers against physical harm, while also sending a clear message that attempts to interfere in elections will not change the results.
"We must protect the hardworking Oregonians who protect our democracy."