Sunday, October 10, 2010

Voting in Oregon - 2010

Having just received my voters' pamphlet, I spent yesterday reading up on candidates (19 pages) and yet another slate of measures (fully 69 pages).  I found a few interesting tidbits: the VP now includes details on the seven officially recognized political parties in Oregon (Constitution, Democratic, Independent, Pacific Green, Progressive, and Republican).  Reading about their core visions and platforms was quite enlightening and virtually every one of them included something to like and not to like.  Equally enlightening were these parties' endorsements awarded to various candidates. 

My current political attitude is best expressed by NO INCUMBENTS NO EXCEPTIONS, so it should be obvious for whom I will not vote.  I will not devote space here to argue for or against specific candidates, since most registered voters will likely vote for their party's candidate or probably have already decided on their favorites based on other factors.  The six measures, on the other hand, moved me to make some general observations. 

In today's economy, it is especially helpful for the responsible voters to find information about the estimated financial impact of these proposed measures. And, with fully 69 pages dedicated to arguments for and against, some interesting trends emerged.  Measures 70, 71, and 76 only included "arguments in favor", leaving me wondering about any "arguments in opposition."  Measures 73 and 74 included a "citizens' review statement" - an interesting newly established voters panel about which I hope to learn more. 

These three measures really caught my attention with their "furnished by" endorsements, since these literally screamed "special interest":

Measure 74, The Oregon Regulated Medical Marijuana Supply System: a rather lengthy "act" clearly drafted by a committee, included numerous endorsements in favor furnished by Oregonians for Responsible Regulation of Marijuana. Only two statements in opposition of the measure were included, but one carried great weight, since it came from the Oregon Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police, and District Attorneys. 

Measure 75, another verbose ballot proposing to authorize a private casino in Multnomah County, included 11 statements in favor furnished by a Good for Oregon Committee or by someone directly associated with the location of the proposed casino. 

Measure 76, the last text-heavy proposal, seeks to extend lottery funding of parks and other recreational areas.  Of 42 endorsements in favor, fully 33 were furnished by Oregonians for Water, Parks & Wildlife, a Project of the Conservation Campaign, the rest by union groups.

But YOU decide - now go vote responsibly!