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Brouhaha on the Ballot

Is there a mistake on your ballot? Aaron Baker, who is running against incumbent Democrat Paul Holvey for Oregon House District 8, says there is. Baker, a Republican railroad engineer perhaps best known for the Tea Party-esque videos he posts at his “No Sugar Coated News” website, has accused fellow challenger Lucian Blansett of election fraud and says his name should be removed from the ballot. Lane County says it’s too late — ballots have already been printed in order to be mailed Oct. 19. Blansett says of the allegations, “I haven’t heard anything, but everything we’ve done has been up and up.”

House District 8 encompasses southwest Eugene, Lorane, Veneta and Noti. It historically leans Democratic, and Holvey has won handily in the past. Blansett, who has a distribution business and lists his prior government experience as “taxpayer,” is running as a Constitution Party candidate. 

Baker, who is prone to anti-communist rants in his online videos, interspersed with videos of goats and sea lions, contacted the Oregon Secretary of State Elections division earlier this month to file a complaint against Blansett, writing, “Blansett has clearly failed to file form SEL 220: Statement of Organization for Candidate Committee, and along with that the required form SEL 223: Campaign Account Information. Both forms are required to be filed if a candidate at any time spends or receives more than $750.00 in a calendar year.”

Baker says that between paying the fee to be in the Voters’ Pamphlet and paying for printing costs for brochures and lawn signs, Blansett has exceeded the $750 amount. He asked that Blansett be taken off the ballot. A compliance specialist at the Elections Division responded that Baker could either consult with an attorney in seeking an order from the court to advise the county elections official to not tally the votes for this candidate, or some other legal remedy that the attorney might advise; or contest the election results.

Baker says having Blansett on the ballot when he has not properly accounted for campaign expenditures — EW was not able to find the PAC Blansett listed, Lucien Blansett PAC, filed with the Secretary of State’s office — is not fair either to him or to Holvey.

The Elections Division says it was going to mail an inquiry to Blansett on the matter by Oct. 15.