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The e-lert is published periodically and sent directly only to those who request to receive it. A typical e-lert includes mostly legislative and political updates, with an occasional Council 75 or other labor-related anecdote. Click here if you would like to be added to the e-lert direct distribution list.

E-lert for Oct. 31
Oct 31, 2014
Oregon AFSCME E-lert

Oregon AFSCME E-lert

Oct. 31, 2014


Edited by Don Loving,

Oregon AFSCME Communications Director


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BACKING THE GUV — Despite some recent buzz around secondary issues, AFSCME remains committed to the re-election of Gov. John Kitzhaber. There is never a perfect candidate, but given an objective inspection through the union's perspective, Kitzhaber clearly won AFSCME's endorsement based on issues of importance to union members says Council 75 Political Director Joe Baessler.


Let's take a moment to talk about PERS. There are union members upset that Kitzhaber helped broker PERS reform legislation in the 2013 regular and special sessions of the Oregon Legislature. AFSCME opposed those "reforms" and fought the governor tooth-and-nail over them. We, as part of the PERS Coalition, have filed lawsuits to overturn that legislation.


But consider alternative. State Rep. Dennis Richardson, Kitzhaber's opponent, has made no bones over the years about wanting to tremendously scale back, or even eliminate, what her terms "extraordinarily generous retirement benefits." Richardson was a key backer of SB 754, the Oregon School Boards Association's PERS bill that was far more draconian in nature than what Kitzhaber proposed. The governor has also been adamant that he and the Legislature are "done" with PERS, regardless of the upcoming Supreme Court's decision. Richardson wants to keep peeling away at PERS.


There are also huge differences between Kitzhaber and Richardson on social issues. Both the Oregonian and Willamette Week have examined those issues in detail. Kitzhaber and Richardson disagree on a variety of other issues as well, such as sick pay (see accompanying graphic). For union members, four more years of John Kitzhaber is clearly better than four years of Dennis Richardson.


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OTHER ENDORSEMENTS — If you're still waiting to fill out your ballot (and at least 70 percent of all Oregonians are in that boat) and you want to check out the union's full endorsement list as a guide while you vote, it's available on the Election Central tab of the Oregon AFSCME website. The online list starts at the U.S. Senate and works down through some community races where AFSCME local unions have taken a position.


Our endorsements are always meant as a guide, not a mandatego here for more information about Oregon AFSCME's endorsement process. As always, we encourage all AFSCME members to vote, regardless of how you vote.


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THE CLOCK IS TICKING — Today (Oct. 31) is generally considered to be the last day that it is "safe" to mail your ballots in time to meet the 8 p.m. Election Day deadline. If you were to mail your ballot tomorrow (Nov. 1), it probably would make it in time — but why take that chance?


Under Oregon's vote-by-mail system, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day — this upcoming Tuesday, Nov. 4 — to return your ballots. One last time: your ballots must be received by 8 p.m. that day; postmarks don't count.


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.


You must sign the outer envelope in the designated location. If you don't, your ballot will not be counted. However, 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.


If you're in a pinch and on the road, or maybe you commute from one county to another for your job, 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.


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Page Last Updated: Oct 31, 2014 (14:00:38)

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