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Oregon asks feds to investigate 'apparent voter suppression scheme'

Ballots are due to an official drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. (SBG)

SALEM, Ore. (KVAL) - A spate of complaints from Oregon voters have prompted federal investigators to look into automated robocalls that are misleading residents into believing they are not registered to vote Tuesday – an act some are calling a form of voter suppression.

The Oregon Secretary of State has asked state and federal law enforcement to investigate the automated calls. Officials said ignoring the calls is the best advice for anyone receiving them.

“We are not sure who is behind these calls, but we take this type of voter suppression activity very seriously,” said Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins. “There is simply no circumstance under which an Oregonian who has received a ballot should receive a call challenging their registration status. Get your ballot in by 8 p.m. Tuesday, and your vote will be counted.”

The issue was reported to the state by county clerks who have been hearing from voters about "this apparent voter suppression scheme," the secretary of state's office said.

Voters in Coos County have reported receiving the calls.

"We’ve gotten several calls from voters about these calls that they are receiving," County Clerk Terri Turi said Friday. "We are verifying the voter’s registration and in most cases, the voter has already received, voted and returned their ballots."

Elections officials remind voters that it is now too late to count on ballots arriving in time by mail. Postmarks do not count. Ballots are due to an official drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Concerns about the vote

Secretary Atkins has taken pains to assure voters about Oregon's election amidst national allegations of voter suppression, voter intimidation and "vote-flipping" by machines in other states.

In response to voter concerns about computer hacking, Atkins said it is important to know the vote counting machines in Oregon are not attached to the Internet.

"They're independent in every one of our 36 counties,” Atkins said. "There's not really a way that you could be hacking into vote machines in in Oregon."

The state has also offered counties a free service called BallotTrax to help boost voter confidence in the process.

Some voters did receive two ballots after changing their voter registration at the last minute.

The Lane County clerk said if a voter sends both ballots, then it will be noticed in the first step of the vote tallying process and the voter's name will be sent to the secretary of state’s office for a possible fraud investigation.

Oregon was also the victim of a viral hoax involving a manipulated photograph of a ballot. Someone used photo editing software to replace the Trump/Pence ticket with a duplicate of the Clinton/Kaine ticket.

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