Election primer — What's happening between now and Election Day
Updated On: Oct 26, 2012 (15:34:00)
All you need to know before Nov. 6
It's vote by mail time in our unique little corner of the world
It's vote by mail time in
our unique little corner of the world. In Oregon, we've been voting by mail
exclusively since 1998. Washington state passed a vote by mail law in 2011.
Most Oregonians received
their ballots the weekend of Oct. 19-21. The hottest races here — and
perhaps the ones that will most immediately impact Oregon AFSCME members
— are those related to the Oregon Legislature, which will convene for a
full session in early 2013. The 2011 Legislature saw a dead-even, 30-30 split in
the Oregon House and Democrats with the barest possible majority of 16-14 in
the Oregon Senate, so both chambers are literally up for grabs this election
Here are things to consider
between now and Election Day, Nov. 6.
Sorry, if you're not registered to vote, it's
too late for this election (the deadline was Oct. 16), though we would
encourage you to go ahead and get registered anyway. It's easy to register to vote online.
If you haven't received your ballot by Oct. 26,
you should contact your county elections office. In most cases, this is
your county clerk's office; some larger counties have separate elections
In Oregon, your ballot must be received by 8
p.m. on Election Day. Postmarksdon'tcount, so if
you mail your ballot, you should do so by Friday, Nov. 2. After that, to
be safe, you should physically take your ballot to your county
clerk/elections office, or deposit it in an official election drop box.
Each county's website will list its drop box locations, and getting your
ballot in an official drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day does
count. (Washington's law allows for postmarks, which in turn delays
official results for several days.)
Your return ballot includes both an outer
envelope and an inner secrecy envelope. You must sign the outer ballot on
the designated line; unsigned ballots are not counted. The secrecy
envelope is actually optional. As long as the outer envelope is properly
signed, the ballot inside will be counted whether or not a voter chooses
to use the secrecy envelope.
Understand that under Oregon's public records
law, whether or not you have voted is a public record. Not how
you've voted, of course, but county elections offices constantly update
their records to reflect who has voted as the days count down. A variety
of organizations, including AFSCME, purchase these records (as frequently
as daily in some cases) from each of Oregon's 36 counties and match them
against voter files, then use that information to generate call lists.
Ergo, the best way to stop getting political phone calls at home as the
election approaches is to get your ballot turned in quickly, then your
name gets purged from your county's "hasn't voted yet" list.
If you're an Oregon AFSCME member, you should
have received an AFSCME Voter Guide in the mail about the same time you
received your ballot. If you didn't, there was some sort of glitch, but
you can access the full list of Council 75 endorsement recommendations on the
Election Central tab of this website.
We can always use volunteers up through Election
Day. New events (door-to-door canvasses, phone banks, literature drops,
etc.) are added daily, so at this point, the most up-to-date information
on volunteer opportunities can be best obtained by phoning your nearest
Oregon AFSCME field office. In Portland (503-239-9858) ask for Matt
Blanchard; in Salem (503-370-2522) ask for Ralph Groener. The other
offices are smaller and you can simply talk to whoever answers the phone.
You are eligible for special benefits just because you're an AFSCME member! Click here
Click here for a list of union child care providers.
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