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Two Petition Gatherers Indicted On Fraud Charges

Two people who gathered signatures for initiative petitions have been indicted on fraud charges.

Christine Gwin and Jason Towery are accused of making false statements in violation of elections laws and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities in Multnomah County say the two suspects entered forged signatures on initiative petitions.

Policing of initiative fraud used to be complaint driven. But Secretary of State Kate Brown says the last legislature gave her office funding for three investigators.

Kate Brown: “They would either, sometimes watch, they would sometimes go to training sessions, they could participate in signing a petition I guess but essentially they are on the streets tracking down where folks are abusing the process and then they follow up on it.”

Authorities say Gwin and Towery were working on petitions to change the legislative redistricting process and to impose minimum sentences for certain crimes.

Only one of the petitions made it to the ballot.

Measure 73 would increase mandatory minimum sentences for some repeat sex offenders and imposes mandatory minimums for some repeat drunken drivers.