Media Contact

Sarah Armstrong, sarmstrong@aclu-or.org

May 15, 2018

HILLSBORO, Ore. — The Washington County race for district attorney drew an unprecedented amount of attention and interest. ACLU of Oregon Executive Director david rogers had the following comment about tonight’s results:

“The tremendous interest in the Washington County district attorney race shows that Oregon’s political landscape is changing for this powerful elected position.

“District attorneys and their hand-picked successors have historically flown under the radar of the public. Eight out of every 10 DA race in Oregon goes uncontested, and with so many uncontested races, large portions of the public have been sitting on the sidelines. Between 2004 and 2014, over one million Oregon voters chose not to vote for district attorney. Voters often check out when there are no legitimate choices. Unfortunately this dynamic has contributed to a serious lack of information and knowledge among the public about who district attorneys are and what role they play in the justice system.

“Six months ago, very few people would have predicted this race would be contested. Voters and potential reform candidates are beginning think about district attorney elections as a strategy to impact system change. DA incumbents and their chosen successors can no longer take elections for granted.

“Washington County is known for its overly-punitive justice system. I hope Mr. Barton uses his new power wisely and pursues forward-thinking reforms to move the county toward smart approaches that keep the community safe, treat all people fairly, and save taxpayer money.”

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