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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon's Elections Director Abruptly Resigns

Oregon Secretary of State's Office
Oregon elections director Jim Williams abruptly resigned this week.

The head of Oregon's Elections Division abruptly stepped down this week, just three months before voting begins in this fall's election. Jim Williams wrote in a resignation letter dated July 19, “It is with a heavy heart and regret that I hereby offer my resignation.”

Williams added “Unfortunately, I am unable to continue my role in this agency for personal reasons.”

Williams reports to Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins. A spokeswoman for Atkins said she could not comment on personnel matters. Atkins named Deputy Elections Director Brenda Bayes to lead the department until a permanent replacement for Williams is selected.

Atkins, who was appointed Secretary of State last year, is not seeking a full term in office. That leaves the decision over who will replace Williams to the new secretary of state who will be elected in November.

Williams was appointed to the position in 2013. He replaced Steve Trout, who was appointed by then-Secretary of State Kate Brown in 2009. Trout resigned soon after Brown was elected to a second term in that office. He now works as the “Director of Election Innovation” at Clear Ballot, a technology firm that specializes in elections software.