There’s a lot of talk right now about the importance of voting “down the ballot.”
For many, “down the ballot” means the state legislature.
But the biggest undervote issues are with local government races – city and county government. Undervotes for city and county office are historically very high, in part because it’s so hard for those candidates to break through the public’s consciousness with so much going on at the top of the ticket.
In some states, like Washington, local government elections happen in odd years, which allows those races to be fully fledged on their own, without having to compete against even-year craziness. I’m not actually advocating that, as it would make for elections every year and turnout would be even lower.
But Oregon’s system does make it challenging for city and county candidates to get heard.
How can we help? Those of us who read blogs like BlueOregon should take a bit of time and email all your friends about the local government races in your area. Don’t assume your friends aren’t leaving these races blank even if they’re voting.
Take 10 minutes and create your own personal endorsement guide or forward on links to endorsements from an organization or organizations you trust.
Obviously, the organization I work for (the Oregon League of Conservation Voters) does a lot of work for city and county races because those elected officials are responsible for many decisions that impact our water, our air, and our neighborhoods. They’re responsible for coming up with sound local solutions to big international problems like global warming.
Here are OLCV’s 2008 Endorsements with the city and county elections near the bottom.
Here are some other organizations that make some local city and county endorsements.
Apologies to organizations not listed – if you know of others, either post a comment about them or email me and I’ll try to update the blog entry to add them to this post.
In the meantime, if there are local candidates you want to plug, here's a great venue? (But don't do that and then forget to email the list of local electeds you support to your friends!).