I voted…exactly a week before Election Day
Yes, we voted here today and no, I don’t mean by absentee ballot. We registered here in Oregon, the only state that does 100 percent of its voting by mail. Like standardized test takers, we darkened the bubbles next to our candidates on our ballots, sealed them in secrecy envelopes, signed our names and now will drop them at the public library or on Oregon State’s campus by 8 p.m. on election day. If sent by mail, the ballots must be received (not merely postmarked) by the county board of elections by Nov. 4.
Oregon values shared processes and even voting is a communal activity here. Voting parties are not uncommon.
With a host of ballot measures — 12 statewide ones this year — to wade through, people need all the help they can get. It wasn’t hard to decide on the measures concerning bilingual education, state tax policy and building permit exemptions were easier decisions. But I found myself scratching my head on others concerning teacher merit pay, prison sentences for drug offenders and the creation of open state primaries (where the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, would advance to the general election.) The Willamette Week created a helpful cheat-sheet and voter’s guide that demystified the process.