SALEM, Ore. – Former New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof told Oregon’s top election official Monday that his having voted in New York state in 2020 doesn’t disqualify him from being a candidate for governor in Oregon.
According to Oregon law, a candidate must have been a resident of the state for at least three years before an election. His having voted in New York in November 2020 has raised questions in the Oregon Secretary of State’s office about his eligibility to run in the November 2022 election, and it had asked him for more information.
Kristof is running in a crowded field for the Democratic nomination for governor and has raised some $2.5 million for his campaign war chest. He noted in his affidavit that he had residences in both New York state and Oregon and had registered to vote in New York for convenience.
“By voting in New York, I had no intention of renouncing Oregon as my home,” Kristof said in an affidavit filed with Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, Oregon’s top election official.
For years, Kristof was a globe-trotting foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner retired from the newspaper last year.
Lydia Plukchi of the secretary of state’s office earlier said candidate eligibility is typically vetted by checking voter registration records and since he had voted in New York, she asked Kristof for any additional “documentation or explanation” to show he was an Oregon resident for three years prior to November 2022.
Kristof’s campaign also offered to Fagan a legal opinion by retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice William Riggs that Kristof has been a resident of Oregon since at least November 2019 “and likely much longer.”
Riggs said that Kristof’s voting in New York would undermine his Oregon residency only if it established that he didn’t intend Oregon to be his permanent home.
Kristof pointed out that he moved as a 12-year-old with his parents to a farm in Yamhill, Oregon, in 1971, and has considered it to be his home ever since. He has purchased additional acreage nearby since then.
The 62-year-old Kristof, in his sworn statement, said that after he dies he wants to be cremated and his ashes spread on the farm and on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Molly Woon, a spokeswoman for Fagan, said experts in the Secretary of State’s elections division will be reviewing Kristof’s response with attorneys at the Oregon Department of Justice.
“We hope to make a final determination later this week,” Woon said.
Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky
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