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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow OUR VIEW: Exercise your right to vote

OUR VIEW: Exercise your right to vote

Oregon has a reputation for innovation. The state was the first in the nation with the Bottle Bill, the Beach Bill and vote by mail.


Ballot Measure 60, a citizen’s initiative in 1998, made Oregon the first state in the United States to conduct its elections exclusively by mail. Now it is time to show the nation that vote by mail is the way to go by having a high percentage of voters participating in the primary election, which concludes May 20.

Perhaps your ballot is sitting on the kitchen counter in a stack of bills. Dig it out. Fill it in. Get it in the mail.

You’ve seen the political signs all around town blooming like daffodils given a huge dose of Miracle-Gro. Perhaps you’ve read the massive amounts of letters sent to The Observer and studied The Observer’s comprehensive Primary Election Guide, published May 2, or reviewed the Voter’s Pamphlet that recently came in the mail. Perhaps you’ve even met the candidates at forums held hither and yon and learned more about their views in person.

Good for you. Election day will be here before we know it. Now is the time to take action, to exercise your sacred right and make your voice heard.

Many people today complain about politicians not listening to the public. The first step in getting politicians to listen, to grab their attention, to promote change is to vote your conscience.

No, Oregon’s election day is not a state holiday. Voters won’t walk through an avenue of flags to get to the polls, nor will they be serenaded by marching bands playing patriotic songs. Some of the pomp and circumstance of going to the ballot box, at least in Oregon, is gone.

Voting by mail, however, is way easier for most of us than going to the polls. We don’t have to take time off work to get to the polling places. We don’t have to remember to vote on a specific date. We can sit down in the comfort of our own home, at our convenience, and vote our conscience.

Sure, we’re not going to like all the candidates. Sometimes we’re forced to pick the better of two choices we feel are not so great. No matter.  The important thing is that we weigh in and contribute our part to making the democracy thrive.

In some parts of the world, people don’t get a chance to vote. Every time we fail to vote, through apathy, alienation or just plain laziness, we erode this valuable right.

Take a few minutes to vote in the next week and put your ballots in the mail. It’s as easy as that. Exercise your right to vote and show the nation that the innovative Oregon vote by mail system is the right way to go.

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