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Lawmakers to hear bill meant to protect safety of elections workers

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Tiffany Eckert
/
KLCC
House Bill 4144 is in response to threats against elections workers.

Oregon lawmakers will hold a hearing Tuesday on a bill meant to protect people who run elections.

The House Rules Committee will take up a measure that would allow elections workers to have their home address removed from some public records. House Bill 4144 came at the request of Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, who says it’s in response to a rise in threats against local public elections officials around the country.

"Part of defending our democracy is protecting the dedicated professionals who administer elections in all 36 counties in Oregon," Fagan said in a letter to state lawmakers in support of the measure.

The bill would also increases penalties against people who are convicted of harassing an elections worker. The extra penalties would apply if the harassment takes place either during the worker’s official duties or in response to an action taken during their official duties.

A survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University last year found that one in three elections workers felt unsafe because of their job.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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