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Two Indicted In Oregon Initiative Fraud Charges

Two people hired to gather signatures for Oregon initiative petitions have been indicted on fraud charges.

In one case, prosecutors allege a paid signature gatherer submitted the names of six dead people.

The two signature collectors were working for a measure that would continue spending 15 percent of lottery money for parks and wildlife projects. It made the ballot as Measure 76.

The director of the campaign in support of that measure, Josh Alpert, says he doesn’t think the charges will tarnish his group’s effort.

Josh Alpert: “This is how it’s supposed to work. Any potential irregularity, that’s when their investigation starts and that’s what happened in this case. We applaud the Secretary of State in being diligent and protecting the integrity of the initiative process.”

The petition qualified for the ballot by a margin of fewer than 3000 valid signatures. But Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown says the margin is not so close as to call into question whether the petition should have qualified for the ballot.

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