An election worker in Oregon is facing a criminal investigation for allegedly altering multiple ballots to benefit Republican candidates.
In a press release on Monday, Clackamas County spokesperson Tim Heider said that 55-year-old Deanna Swenson had been “relieved of duty immediately after the alleged ballot tampering was discovered.”
Swenson, who was registered as a Republican, was accused of filling in a Republican straight ticket on ballots where voters did not specify a choice.
Contacted by Willamette Week, Swenson tearfully insisted that it was “only the two” ballots that had been altered.
The Oregon Department of Justice began an investigation last week after an elections official reportedly observed ballots being altered.
“At this point, it is unclear how many ballots the employee at issue had access to, or what will be done with those ballots,” the sheriff’s office said on Monday.
At a Monday emergency meeting, officials in Clackamas County announced that the altered ballots would not be counted. Since ballots were anonymous, disenfranchised voters would not be given a chance to re-cast their votes.
Swenson has worked in elections since at least 2000, according to the Clackamas County spokesperson.
Blue Oregon’s Kari Chisholm reported that the Oregon City woman’s Facebook page indicated she “liked” various conservative personalities, candidates and organizations including the Republican National Committee, The Tea Party, Paul Ryan VP, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Ann Romney and Fox News.
If convicted of a Class C felony for ballot tampering, Swenson could face five years in prison and a fine of up to $125,000.
Watch this video from NWCN, broadcast Nov. 5, 2012.