Oregon AFSCME E-lert
Oct. 24, 2014
Edited by Don Loving,
Council 75 Communications
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DUELING DONKEYS — By now, you
should have received your ballot. Here's another reminder that Oregon AFSCME
strongly urges a "No" vote on Ballot Measure 90.
Measure 90 limits our
choices of candidates in November by replacing our current election system with
a "Top Two" system. Those two candidates are most likely the two best-funded
candidates and could even end up being two candidates from the same party. This
could mean our choice is really no choice at all.
This is not hypothetical.
Under the "Top Two" system, Washington voters right now, in this election
cycle, are being forced to "choose" between two virtually identical candidates:
two far-right, anti-choice, anti-worker, pro-tax break Republicans. What kind
of choice is that?
And for the record, an
election that featured a "choice" between identical Democrats isn't what our
country is about, either.
Bottom line: Measure 90 forces
a "choice" that's not a choice. In neighboring "Top Two" states California and
Washington, 25 percent of November races are now between candidates from just
one major political party. Minor party candidates have virtually disappeared
from the November ballot all together.
Measure 90 would limit
Oregonians' choice, vote and voice. That's why AFSCME has joined one of the
broadest and most diverse coalitions in Oregon history to fight it —
including teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers and other public
employees, plus representatives from major and minor parties, faith leaders and
Want more information? Check
out this short
* * *
THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT
THE TRUTH — A letter that's
been mailed to some public employees from an apparent former police officer is
causing consternation, especially in the camps of Rep. Brent Barton (D-Oregon City) and Rep. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis). Barton is in a close re-election
campaign for his House District 40 seat, while Gelser is seeking to unseat
incumbent Sen. Betsy Close
(R-Albany) in Senate District 8.
The letter from Owen
Herzberg takes Barton and Gelser to
task for "voting to cut our hard-earned and promised PERS benefits."
Politically speaking, the letter is a masterful mix of truth and
Barton and Gelser both did,
in fact, vote for SB 822 during
the 2013 regular session, and that bill did cut some benefits for both
out-of-state and current retirees. During the 2013 special session, Barton and
Gelser both voted against SB 861,
which was the more draconian PERS cuts that were offered up as part of the
so-called "grand bargain."
The point of Herzberg's
letter is to try and peel public employee support away from Barton and Gelser
— and again, it is true that Barton and Gelser, along every other
Democrat except Rep. Brian Clem
(D-Salem) — voted for SB 822. The disingenuous part, of course, is that
their opponents are both of the ilk that would support further, deeper cuts to
PERS. The Herzberg letter is a wolf in sheep's clothing, or a Trojan horse,
pick your analogy.
AFSCME strongly opposed
both SB 822 and SB 861. The Moro lawsuit, which is the legal challenge to SB 822, had
oral arguments in the Supreme Court on Oct. 14. However, our union's endorsement process
has always entailed examining a candidate's overall body of work, not a single
vote on a single issue. Minus SB 822, Barton's AFSCME voting record was
otherwise 100 percent; Gelser, 94 percent. They both continue to have Council
75's unwavering support.
* * *
THE 'OTHER' MEASURES — Measure 90 has pretty much stolen the
spotlight in regard to the measures that Oregon AFSCME has taken a stand on.
Voters face seven ballot measures this election cycle, and the union took a
position on four of those. In addition to "No" on Measure 90, AFSCME suggests
- Measure 86 — YES (Oregon Opportunity Initiative)
- Measure 88 — YES (Driver's cards)
- Measure 89 — YES (Oregon Equal Rights Amendment)
The union took no position
on Measure 87 (allowing state
judges to teach for pay), Measure 91 (marijuana legalization) or Measure 92 (GMO food labeling).
* * *
ABOUT YOUR BALLOTS — First and foremost, if you have not yet
received your ballot, something has gone wrong and you should contact your
county elections office immediately.
In most cases, that is your county clerk's office. A handful of larger Oregon
counties have separate elections offices.
Under Oregon's vote-by-mail
system, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day — Tuesday, Nov. 4 —
to return your ballots. For veteran readers of the e-lert, here it comes: your ballots must be received by
8 p.m. that day; postmarks don't count. That means if you haven't mailed your ballot by Oct. 31, you need to
deliver it to your elections office or drop it in an official ballot box. Every
county has designated ballot drop boxes and your county's website will list
those locations. And you do have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to drop your
ballot in an authorized ballot drop box, that does count.
Some other lesser-known
factoids about voting by mail in Oregon:
- You must sign the outer envelope in the designated
location. If you don't, your ballot will not be counted.
- The secrecy envelope that comes with your ballot
is optional. Your ballot will
be counted even if you don't use the secrecy inner envelope.
- You can drop your ballot in another county's
official ballot drop box; it will get forwarded to the correct county and
(eventually) counted. Obviously, if you do so near or on the election
date, your ballot will get included in the "final, official" tally and
won't get counted on election night, but it will get counted.
- You can request a replacement ballot if you
somehow misplace or damage your original. Contact your county elections
office for details.
- You really do need to use blue or black ink, as
the ballot days. Red or other oddball ink colors aren't picked up by the
ballot scanner machines, which means your ballot needs to be hand-counted.
It will get counted, but it will be delayed.
Finally, most people
understand this, but officials will tell you they get this mistake dozens of
times each election. If it says "vote for three" (or two, or four, or whatever
more than one) — not uncommon for various board, council and/or
commission races — and you only vote for one or two, your votes will be
counted. If you vote for four, your votes for that particular race will not be
counted. You may always undervote
if you so choose. You may not overvote — as much as we may want to on occasion. J
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