I have worked as a volunteer election observer for Marion County Elections for over ten years. It has been my privilege to see Bill Burgess in action as he oversees every aspect of the elections process and assures that the election workers follow the Secretary of State’s procedures exactly. He is unfailingly courteous to everyone, from his well-trained staff to the grumpiest voter with last minute ballot problems and he always makes time to answer questions.
It is reassuring to me, especially now when much of government feels chaotic, to know that we have Bill Burgess to make sure our election process is secure and honest.
Over the years we have lived in various counties in states all over the country as well as in Oregon. Bill Burgess has been one of the most accessible and helpful county clerks we’ve ever dealt with. It has been much easier to access and record information in Marion County than anywhere else we’ve lived. Since vote by mail was begun in Oregon, we’ve served as observers in a number of elections and have always been impressed by the professionalism and efficiency of the staff in Marion County. We’ve watched as ballots were processed and tallied in the secured area as well as observing staff in the front dealing with people needing provisional ballots. Bill has always been willing to explain how the process works as well as answer any questions we might have had. Whenever we’ve needed to record or locate documents, it’s been a relatively simple process and his staff has always been helpful and courteous.
My family and I have had dealings with the county clerk’s office for close to 50 years now. In the time that Bill Burgess has been county clerk, I have witnessed many times the professionalism of that office. His employees are courteous, knowledgeable and always ready to help a member of the public. This behavior correlates with the kind of management employees are given.
In the last 4-5 years I have been observing at every election. I have watched all aspects of the process from the help given to citizens at the front counter to the actual counting of the votes by machine. The process is well-run and managed. Employees are supervising every aspect of the process from signature checking to checking ballot for readability. All political parties have access to observing and all parties are involved in the actual work of processing the ballots.
I have witnessed Bill involved in this process. When the front counter is very business, he can be seen helping people right along with his staff. He speaks with all citizens requesting his attention and is always courteous, friendly and helpful. Bill does his job successfully and expects the same from staff who consistently follow his lead. Without his leadership this office and voting process risks being less successful.
I have been monitoring elections for the Democratic Party of Oregon at every General Election since 2004. Since 2006, I have led the team of Democratic observers for Marion County. Our purpose is to see that proper procedures for ballot handling are followed and that no person entitled to vote is denied the right to vote.
Most on our team of observers have been monitoring elections through many election cycles. Their primary responsibility is to scrutinize and report any irregularities that may compromise the process. Before we begin observing, we run training sessions that every observer must attend before being deployed as part of our team. Even experienced observers must attend every year as a refresher. Our team members know in detail how the process should work and what types of problems to look for and report. Besides me, our team includes several other attorneys.
The Secretary of State’s Vote by Mail Procedures Manual lays out in detail exactly how ballots in Oregon must be processed. As a longtime election observer, I have read and am familiar with the procedures in the manual.
Bill Burgess and his team follow the Vote by Mail Procedures Manual to the letter. Bill runs a ballot processing operation that is as near flawless as any operation involving human beings can be.
He has built an outstanding team that takes great pride in their customer service and the accuracy of their work.
Under Bill’s direction, the Marion County Elections Office upholds the right of every eligible voter to vote. In 2004, before Bill’s tenure, the staff in the Elections Office was hostile to voters with unusual situations that were seeking to exercise their right to vote.
One example of many, a few days before Election Day 2004, involved an Oregon voter who was a long-haul trucker passing through Salem. This voter lived on the Oregon coast, but had a trucking deadline to meet and was unable to get back to his home to vote his ballot. By law, he was entitled to vote at any Oregon County Elections Office and have his ballot sent to his home county to be counted. But when he asked for a ballot at the Marion Elections Office counter, his request was refused. I had to put on my lawyer’s hat and insist that the trucker’s right to vote be honored and that he be given a ballot to vote.
Now that Bill Burgess oversees elections, voters are never denied their right to vote. During the balloting period, our Democratic observer team always places an observer at the counter to be sure that no eligible voter is denied their right to vote. We have never witnessed another incident like the one in 2004.
Customer service is impeccable. Bill’s staff knows what he expects of them; he sets high standards and leads by example. His staff follows his lead.
The ballot processing and counting operation in Marion County accurate and superior to that in other counties that my husband, Rocky Evans, now my co-leader, has observed.
My husband and I led the observer team monitoring Marion County for the recount of the GMO ballot measure in 2014. Marion County’s recount matched the original results exactly. Bill’s team deservedly took great pride in that result.
My husband, Rocky Evans, has been co-leading the Marion County observer team with me during recent election cycles. Previously, he filled leadership gaps for the Democratic Party in other counties. In that role he led the observer teams in Clackamas, Lincoln, Tillamook, and Clatsop Counties. He can testify that none of these operations were as well-managed, efficient, and trouble-free as that in Marion County. It is worth noting that Bill was known in these offices as a source of advice and counsel for elections issues.
For the integrity of our elections, it is important that Bill Burgess remain in the election office to guard elections in an Oregon swing county. We could not ask for or find anyone more capable or better suited to the job.
I am pleased to endorse Bill Burgess for Marion County Clerk, his leadership and integrity have ensured that Oregon and Marion County residents receive professional and efficient customer services. Additionally Bill has earned statewide and national respect through his guidance and initiative in the area of voter elections and has implemented procedures and technology to safeguard voter integrity.
I have worked in Marion County Elections counting and verifying ballots for several years and the experience has been interesting and enjoyable under Bill’s direction. The process is efficient and the county election staff mirror Bill’s example of quality services in a very positive workplace environment. I look forward to Bill’s continuing leadership in the Marion County Clerk Office and I will be voting for him in the November 3, 2020 election to ensure that Marion County continues its great services. I encourage you to vote for Bill Burgess for Marion County Clerk- Marion County deserves and needs his leadership.