Oregon AFSCME E-lert
Oct. 31, 2014
Edited by Don Loving,
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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 mandate
— go 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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