SHAME ON CITIZENS FOR FAILING TO VOTE
Come on citizens, can you give us one or two good reasons for not voting in the May 21 election?
Union County Clerk Nellie Bogue Hibbert says she is expecting only a 50 percent turnout in the mail-in election. At one point, these people receiving ballots took the time to fill out a card and register. A 50 percent turnout? Why is there such voter apathy that people are willing to waste the paper on which ballots are printed and the postage spent in mailing them to the voters? How can this be?
IS IT BECAUSE people do not want to fork out 34 cents for a stamp to mail their ballot back to the clerk's office? The answer to that one is easy. Drop boxes are available at the Chaplin County Building on Fourth Street and at various city halls within the county. No postage is required for dropping off these ballots.
IS IT BECAUSE voters are not interested in the measures or candidates in the May primary? Measure 13 will have a direct bearing on how much money Oregon school districts will get from the state. Is anyone out there interested in school funding? The Democrats and Republicans are deciding which of their candidates for governor will advance to the runoff in November? Does anyone care who will succeed Gov. John Kitzhaber in January? Don't know much about the gubernatorial candidates? Read the information in the Voters' Pamphlet or in other sources. Select a candidate and mark your ballot.
OR DO PEOPLE think there's nothing important to vote on locally? Union and Wallowa counties have a hotly contested race for 10th District Circuit Court judge. The May election results likely will be close. Your vote does count.
It would be appalling if only 50 percent of registered voters cast ballots. The number of returned ballots should be closer to 80 or 90 percent. People should not sit back and allow their neighbors to decide on the important issues and races. The ballots are in their hands. They should act like citizens and do something about it.
COURT ACTED WISELY
The Oregon Court of Appeals decided correctly when last week it overturned a Lane County law that prohibited people from gathering initiative petition signatures at public transit stations.
THE LAWSUIT was filed two years ago on behalf of a signature-gatherer who was barred from collecting signatures at a downtown transit station in Eugene. The appeals court upheld a circuit judge who concluded that the Lane County Transit District can restrict but not ban signature-gathering at their boarding areas.
Signature-gatherers should not be allowed to block passengers from boarding buses or otherwise make themselves a nuisance. But they have every right to stand on public property and ask people to sign the petitions they are supporting.