Oregon’s top election compliance specialist said it wasn’t even close. Lydia Plukchi disqualified Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Nicholas Kristof as a candidate for governor. Her boss backed her up on a nation-wide press conference.[00:00:13] Secretary of State Shemia Fagan: My name is Shemia Fagan. I use she/her pronouns and I am honored to serve as Oregon’s 28th Secretary of State. [00:00:21] I’m joined today, albeit virtually, by our Elections Director, Deborah Scroggin and our Compliance Specialist who worked on this filing, Lydia Plukchi. And Lydia has been with the agency for almost 20 years. [00:00:33] John Q: The Secretary of State said she supported the ruling. [00:00:36] Secretary of State Shemia Fagan: Let me be clear. I stand by their decision. I agree with their decision and I will defend their decision.
In response, Mr. Kristof provided a variety of sentiments and statements that he’s made over the years, which we expect are genuine sentiments about his love for Oregon, that he considered Oregon home and his desire to someday return to Oregon. He talked about his visits too in connection with the family farm in Yamhill County, renovations to the family farm house, and his affiliation with a recent LLC operating there.[00:05:31] Mr. Kristof also said that he filed income taxes in Oregon in 2019 and 2020, but he didn’t provide any documentation whatsoever. And he didn’t even claim that he filed those taxes as an Oregon resident. [00:05:44] While I have no doubt that Mr. Kristof’s sentiments and feelings towards Oregon are genuine and sincere, they’re simply dwarfed by the mountains of objective evidence that until recently, he considered himself a New York resident.
And it is worth noting, particularly for those of you who are not as familiar with Oregon as our Oregon media, that Oregon’s system of vote by mail makes it exceptionally easy for an Oregon resident to receive their ballot out of state. Any Oregon resident who won’t be home during the election to receive their ballot can simply go on OregonVotes.org, update their voter registration mailing address, and your county clerk will make sure that your ballot arrives literally anywhere on the globe.
So while this case has clearly garnered significant public interest, in the end, our elections officials told me it wasn’t even a close call.[00:06:37] And while there have been creative legal arguments and an impressive PR campaign, given the evidence, I venture that most Oregonians who are paying attention have reached the same conclusion. Look. To find that Mr. Kristof meets the three-year constitutional residency requirement for Oregon governor, while for 20 years living, working, raising his kids, holding a driver’s license, filing taxes, and voting as a New York resident until a year ago, just doesn’t pass the smell test. [00:07:09] John Q: At Nicholas Kristof’s press conference, a reporter followed up on the Secretary of State’s explanation. If the compliance specialist found it wasn’t even close, why would a judge be any different? [00:07:22] Nicholas Kristof: There were people who have looked at this, including three former Democratic Secretaries of State, including the former Supreme Court justice, including the only legal precedent we know of, where the Secretary of State tried to remove somebody from the ballot. [00:07:39] And, uh, that was located, they all found (unintelligible) principle of inclusiveness and (unintelligible) former Secretary that informed me justice, uh, having me on the ballot. So I can’t put myself in the shoes of the Secretary of State. Uh, but I do know where the law is and where this will end up and that will be on the ballot in November. [00:08:06] Secretary of State Shemia Fagan: It’s not lost on me that today is one year since there was a violent attack at the United States Capitol. And we’re only a few weeks past the one-year anniversary of an attack on the Oregon Capitol. While I’ve served as Secretary of State for the past year, it’s been in the midst of an unprecedented attack on our democracy, historic distrust in public services, and a scourge of misinformation and false accusations. … [00:08:33] I want to thank the hardworking professionals in the Elections Division for their prompt attention and dedication to this matter. And I want to thank the election officials all over our country for the hard work they do to protect the integrity of our elections and make our democracy work every day. [00:08:49] John Q: On Friday, candidate Kristof asked the Oregon Supreme Court to overrule elections officials and declare him a long-time Oregonian.