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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. 24
Oct 24, 2014
Oregon AFSCME E-lert

Oregon AFSCME E-lert

Oct. 24, 2014


Edited by Don Loving,

Council 75 Communications Director


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DUELING ELEPHANTS, 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 small businesses.


Want more information? Check out this short video.


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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 disingenuousness.


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.


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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 the following:


  • 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).


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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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Page Last Updated: Oct 24, 2014 (15:21:06)

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