Writings and observations

The lines of 29

Jeff Duyck

Jeff Duyck

Only a few quick notes on the Oregon House 29 debacle . . . in which Jeff Duyck, who has lived in his house for at least three election cycles, received ballots and voted for House 29 candidates in the past, and this year has filed to run as a Republican challenger to Democratic Representative Chuck Riley, and his candidacy was accepted officially as valid (he has the Republican nomination), until a few days ago. But he may be legally unable to run or serve because he legally is a nonresident. He lives on the very edge of the district, and while most of his residential property does lie within 29, his actual house, it turns out, does not. (A Democratic activist found this out after some map checking.) There has been, understandably, uproar.

bullet There is word out now (most directly via NW Republican) that Duyck will drop out of the race. Realistically, that’s what he has to do. With the facts on the table, even if some way were found to keep him on the ballot, he couldn’t – constitutionally – serve in the House. One of the two logical things for Republicans to do right now is find the best replacement they can. And consider Duyck, who so far is developing (merited) sympathy over all this and even getting some statewide attention, a bankable asset for the future.

As very much a side point, this was shaping up as a respectably competitive but probably not a nail-biter contest. Riley racked up 61.7% last time against a mayor in the district, which has been trending blue the last few cycles, and the time before that ousted a Republican incumbent. In a Democratic year, this does not look like a seat on the edge, even allowing that Duyck brought strong assets to the table.

bullet More significantly here: What a screwup on the part of elections personnel (and the finger here has mainly to be pointed to Washington County Elections). How many other misplaced people around the area, around the state, might there be? We’d suspect some county clerks already have been running their own quiet checks in the last few days to try to find any.

Consider the pure legal implications: Because of misinformation provided by elections personnel, citizens were led to cast illegal votes, which weakened the voting pool in one district and deprived a citizen of his proper vote in another. Even if the number of voters is involved, the offense is significant.

There may not be many such cases, but let the inquiry begin. Meantime, Republicans have a righteous beef on this.

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