We are down to the last days of a fight to protect funds for our schools, social services, and for public safety. By voting YES on Measures 66 and 67, we are asking that the corporate minimum tax be raised for the first time since 1931, to $150 from a meager $10, and for couples making over $250,000 to see a modest uptick in their tax rate. We’re in a fight for tax fairness, for the quality of our state’s infrastructure and for our children’s future. It is vitally important and will help define what Oregon will be for decades to come.
So, how is the vote going? Right now, only 40% of all ballots are in. It needs to be higher. Much, much higher.
What is a bigger concern, though, is what’s going on in the more progressive counties. Multnomah County, with the highest number of Democrats in the state, has a turn-out far lower than the rest of the state, with just 36% of the ballots in. In contrast, over 86% of Multnomah County citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election. Only one county, Morrow, with its 4,700 registered voters, has a lower turn-out -- 31%.
Just as disheartening is the turn-out in three more of Oregon’s most progressive counties. Washington County beats Multnomah’s turn-out by a mere .6%, and Lane County’s is 39%. In Benton County, which had the state's highest percentage of votes in favor of Obama, it’s a bit better with 41%, but still, not enough.
In contrast, Harney County, the most conservative county in the state, where Republican presidential candidates have garnered over 70% of the vote for decades, the turn-out is at 48%.
In Grant County, where citizens have passed Far Right ballot measures like the one denouncing the UN as a global conspiracy, the turn-out is 44.6%. And the over-all state winner for turn-out right now, out of 36 counties, is Crook County at 51%, where John McCain won 62% of the vote.
To be sure, there are courageous, progressive voters in these more conservative counties. If those who live in more Democratic areas don’t vote, we’re just letting those folks down. And it hasn’t always been this way -- in the 2006 and 2008 elections, the turn-out percentage (not just the numbers) of the progressive counties outranked that of the more conservative ones.
So, who is speaking for you? Please get your ballots in by Tuesday at 8pm. Here is a list of ballot drop-off sites. Even better, contact the Defend Oregon campaign and help with get out the vote efforts. What are you waiting for?