The Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division has warned Umatilla County sherriff candidate Al Humphrey to be careful his campaign signs dont imply he is the incumbent.
They dont imply that, Humphrey said Tuesday, adding elections officials found nothing wrong with his signs.
Humphrey is vying against county Undersheriff Terry Rowan and Oregon State Police Sgt. Bob Cannon in the election for sheriff. Signs for Rowan and Cannon each use the word elect.
Humphreys signs state Al Humphrey across the top and Umatilla County Sheriff below. A Feb. 9 letter from the elections division states Humphrey broke no campaign law, but also advised him: In the future, please be more vigilant to make your campaign materials clear to avoid any implication that you already hold the office which you are seeking.
Sheriff John Trumbo complained Feb. 6 to the elections division that Humphreys signs imply he already was the sheriff, he said Tuesday. The Secretary of States office asked that he send photos. The elections division three days later sent Humphrey the warning and Trumbo a copy.
I didnt want to make a big issue out of it, Trumbo said. I just wanted my people and my supporters to know that I looked into it and there is nothing more I can do about it, so I just let it go.
Compliance specialist Alana Cox wrote Humphrey that under Oregon law, no one in any campaign material may describe the candidate as the incumbent with knowledge or reckless disregard?that the statement is false.
Humphreys signs do not violate the law, Cox wrote. Voters may interpret that Humphrey is simply running for the office.
But, she also said the elections division advises candidates to put the word for between the candidate's name and the office they seek, or add the word elect before the candidate's name.
This ensures that the public is aware that the candidate is not the incumbent for the office they are seeking, Cox wrote.
Humphrey has several large signs in Pendleton. Only one, on Tutuilla Road, now has a sticker saying Vote in front of his name. The remaining signs are unchanged.
Humphrey said the advice from the elections division only applies to his future signs, so he wont change any more of those on display.
Secretary of State spokeswoman Andrea Cantu-Schomus called the letter a warning, but also said the agency was only giving advice to Humphrey. Trumbo said his concern is how Humphrey is portraying himself in the signs.
If youre going to represent the citizens of Umatilla County and youre going to enforce the laws, then you need to be straight with the public and these signs are not, Trumbo said.
Humphrey asserted he is not portraying himself as the sheriff in the signs and refused to say more.
And state election officials are doing no more in the case.
Not finding a violation of election law, the Elections Division determines this investigation is closed and does not intend to pursue this matter further, Cox wrote.
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