Remember to vote

By Observer editorial May 17, 2010 12:02 pm
Secretary of State Kate Brown last week projected a 37 percent turnout for the May 18 primary election. Frankly, that’s embarrassing. With Oregon’s vote by mail system, there’s no excuse for not having a higher turnout. It’s so much easier to fill out a ballot and mail it in over a two or three-week period than it is to stand in line at a polling station, maybe in a spring rainstorm, during certain hours of a certain day. Maybe we’re getting too used to vote by mail and beginning to take it for granted. The system is a real feather in Oregon’s cap. Oregon was the first state to go exclusively vote by mail. Oregonians passed an initiative in 1998 to have all elections vote by mail, which has reduced the cost of elections.

Factors in the low turnout might be the high number of independent voters in Oregon who can’t weigh in during a primary for a Republican or Democratic candidate. Or people may be gathering more information and waiting for the last moment to cast their ballots.

The races are compelling for county commissioner, state Legislature and governor, among others. Candidates have divergent and vibrant ideas, and it is up to each voter to separate the wheat from the chaff. Getting the right people to lead Oregon and the region out of the recession is important.

If you do vote now, remember that it is too late to put your ballot in the mail. Voters Tuesday will have to drop ballots at a county-designated official drop site.