It is ironic that in this era when Republicans are doing all they can to restrict voting access and transform elections to “selections,” Shemia Fagan, Oregon’s Democratic secretary of state, has chosen to deny Oregon voters the opportunity to vote for Oregon native Nick Kristof. Her decision, if allowed to stand, removes the biggest obstacle to electoral success for other career Democrats who work alongside her in the Capitol.
Kristof happens to be a political outsider, the kind that Oregon could really use now. Fortunately, the Oregon Supreme Court recognizes that determinations of ballot eligibility fall squarely within the domain of the judicial branch of government.
Retired Supreme Court Justice William Riggs wrote a legal opinion two weeks ago on this topic and concluded that Kristof is indeed an Oregon resident, even though his job required him to live in other places around the world during his lengthy, brilliant career as an acclaimed journalist and humanitarian. Three former Oregon secretaries of state agree with Justice Riggs.
I attended law school with current and former members of the Oregon Supreme Court, and, unlike the U.S. Supreme Court (and our secretary of state), I know they will decide Kristof’s eligibility based on the facts and the law.