A Bipartisan Guide to Voting in Oregon
Elections are nearly here, and while the presidential race is the one everyone is probably talking about the most, there’s much more at stake than which candidate will spend the next four years in the White House.
We’re not going to take sides or tell you how you should vote in the Oregon elections, because we’re Bipartisan, after all. But we do want you to get out there and make your voice heard. Here’s a handy guide to everything you need to know and where to find information for the upcoming 2016 elections.
Oregon Voter Registration How-To
Are you new to Oregon? Is this your first time voting in the Beaver State? Not to worry – registering to vote is super simple here.
Licensed drivers can register to vote, or update or check voter registration online via the Secretary of State’s website. Also, most post offices and libraries have voter registration cards at the ready, so just pick one up the next time you need to mail a package or check out a book. You can also grab one at your county elections office if you happen to be nearby.
If none of those options works for you (or you just don’t feel like leaving home), you can reach the State Elections Division at 866-673-VOTE. They’ll mail a voter registration card right to your home.
Where Should You Go to Cast Your 2016 Vote In Oregon?
We recommend that you vote at your neighborhood park if it’s nice out. If the weather is cold and rainy, then you might want to instead vote at the local coffee shop or dive bar.
We’re not trying to be funny. Oregon has mail-in ballots, so you go ahead and fill out your ballot wherever you please. But whether you fill it out at Powell’s Books, Bipartisan Café, or Bar of the Gods, you’ll need to send it in to be counted in time. If you’ve procrastinated past the Wednesday preceding the election, then you’d better drop it off at an official drop box, just to make sure it gets counted. Slacker.
OK, so we all know Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both running for president, but what else will Oregon voters be deciding this November?
2016 Special Election in the Oregon Governor’s Office
Well, let’s start with the gubernatorial race. That’s the worst word, isn’t it? Anyway, Governor John Kitzhaber resigned back in 2015, and since then, Kate Brown has been taking care of business. She’ll be running for the chance to finish the remainder of Kitzhaber’s term, but she won’t be the only one.
Other contenders include Bud Pierce, the Republican oncologist; Cliff Thomason, an independent who serves as president of the Oregon Hemp Company; the Constitution Party’s Aaron Auer, who spends his workdays as a preacher; and Libertarian software exec and attorney James Forster.
A Shakeup in the Oregon House This November?
Let’s move on to the Oregon House. Currently, democrats are in the majority, holding 35 seats – one shy of a three-fifths supermajority. It seems safe to assume that they’ll be able to maintain their lead, but by how much? All the seats of the chamber are up for election, but of the fourteen incumbents not running for reelection, 10 are Democrats. Will the Republicans manage to gain more control, or will the Dems hang on? It’s up to you.
The 2016 Oregon Senate Election
In the Oregon State Senate, the seat currently occupied by Democrat Ron Wyden is up for grabs. According to pollsters, Wyden’s position is fairly secure, but that won’t stop other senate hopefuls from trying to pull off an upset.
The incumbent will face off against Republican Mark Callahan, Libertarian Jim Lindsay, Independent Steven Cody Reynolds, the Progressive Party’s Eric Navickas, and the Working Families party nominee, Shanti Lewallen. Again, Wyden’s job seems safe, but if you’d like to see him continue the work he’s been doing, then it’s a good idea to show your support.
Ballot Measures This 2016 Election for Oregon
As of this writing, seven ballot measures are slated to appear on the November 8th ballot.
Measure 94 would allow judges to continue working beyond the current mandatory retirement age of 75 years old.
Measure 95 would let public state universities invest in equities. The overall aim is to allow them to reduce financial risk and to offset costs for students.
Measure 96 would earmark 1.5 percent of state lottery proceeds for veterans’ services.
Measure 97 would raise corporate taxes on businesses with annual sales that exceed $25 million. That would mean an additional $548 million in tax revenue over the next year, and $3 billion each year in the years to come.
Measure 98 is aimed at bolstering graduation rates and building a workforce ready for 21st century jobs. It would require state funding for dropout-prevention, and career and college readiness programs in Oregon high schools.
If you’re a fan of outdoor schooling, vote for Measure 99. It would use state lottery proceeds to create an “Outdoor School Education Fund.”
Finally, there’s Measure 100, which would prohibit the sale of products from 12 species of endangered animals.
It’s Your Turn to Decide This November, Oregonians
As you can see, we the people of Oregon have some important decisions to make this year. Whichever way you intend to vote, we hope you’ll make your voice heard, because that’s what democracy is all about. And if all that box checking and chad punching leaves you feeling a little peckish, stop by Bipartisan for coffee and pie afterward. We’d love to drink a cup and talk politics with you!