The scenario sounds farcical, more like a skit on “Saturday Night Live” than reality.
The Oregon Republican Party compiled a statement to be printed in the voters pamphlet that will be distributed prior to the Nov. 3 general election.
The deadline to file the statement with the Secretary of State’s office was 5 p.m. on Aug. 25.
Precisely 5 p.m.
Last week the Secretary of State’s office announced that it had rejected the GOP’s statement, meaning it might not be printed in the voters pamphlet, because the statement, submitted by computer, arrived 29 seconds late.
That’s 29 seconds, not 29 minutes. Just a shade less than half a minute.
Deadlines are necessary, to be sure.
But determining that something filed online, when the gap between the click of the mouse and the arrival of the data can potentially be, let’s say, 29 seconds, is pedantic at best.
Moreover, there is uncertainty about whether the Republicans in fact failed to meet the deadline under any measure.
The GOP has filed a legal challenge in Marion County seeking to overturn the decision by state officials and require the state to include the Republican statement in the voters pamphlet when it’s printed later this month. Kevin Hoar, a spokesman for the Republican Party, said party officials did file the statement several minutes before 5 p.m., but didn’t receive a receipt for the payment until 29 seconds after 5 p.m. GOP officials also say that they would have filed the statement earlier that day but they were not able to access their account due to a problem with the state’s online filing system. A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office said there was no such problem.
Considering that computers diligently record times, the GOP claim should be easy to prove or disprove. It’s difficult to imagine why party officials would go to court if they knew they couldn’t show that they actually beat the deadline.
Oregon GOP Chairman Bill Currier said officials waited until the last day to ensure the statement reflects the most current events. The Democratic Party submitted its statement one day earlier, on Aug. 24.
— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor