State Story Roundup--Election post mortem edition

Carla Axtman

I'm still bathing in the afterglow of electiongasm 08. Much has been written in the blogosphere about the political sea-change engaged in by the electorate. Oregon pushed the envelope further and harder than I ever remember, forcing the Republican Party to engage in some hardcore (and much needed) navel gazing.

I've taken a tour of the online editions of various newspapers from around the see their opining about the election. So here they are...the good, the bad and the ugly.

The editorial staff at the Beaverton Valley Times used their space to handwring over the Democratic victories. No "mandate", they say. Elections have consequences, I say.

Over at the Albany Democrat Herald, editor Hasso Herring is bent about how long it took to tabulate all the ballots and get an outcome. Herring suggests that our drawn-out vote-by-mail system might benefit from a nightly tabulation of ballots, accompanied by a public release of the leaders and stragglers. GOTV would definitely look different under the Herring Plan.

Mike Green at the Ashland Daily Tidings takes on the GOP's efforts to scare voters into not voting for Obama. Green's self-assigned jaded political sensibility finds itself in a place where it's daring to hope for better for our nation.

The McMinnville News-Register offers advice to Democrats and advice to Republicans. Democrats again get no mandate..don't go all liberal on us, they say. Republicans...just get your shit together.

The Daily Astorian also has advice for the Grand Old Party: You've got no bench, you've got no prospects. Time to shrug off your ideological purity and look around. If you don't, you may as well pull the plug.

The Register-Guard in Eugene gets micro-local, asking newly reelected Mayor Kitty Piercy to not just listen, but hear her constituents. Interesting.

More ruminations on local outcomes from Dick Hughes at the Statesman Journal in Salem. Hughes even considers that it might be okay for a guy who doesn't have kids in public school vote for a school bond.

Finally, the News-Review in Roseburg asks us to move past the election outcomes whether you won or lost...and get to work. Our state and our nation depend on it.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)

    The Democrats did great in Oregon in 2008. But it's important to remember two things:

    1.) There is no such thing as a permanent majority. The citizens retain the right to choose different leadership every election. That means Democrats need to legislate and lead well.

    2.) Electing Democrats is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I work to elect Democrats because I believe they offer the best means to achieve the policies I think are important, not because Democrats are inherently better. That means Democats need to legislate and lead well.

    We sent great people to Salem. They're smart, capable and effective. I hope they make us proud.

  • (Show?)

    I concur with Bert. No one needs to get all cocky here.

    We are facing at least a half-billion dollar state revenue shortfall and it's only November.

    Our best and brightest have been sent to Salem to represent every citizen, not just certain factions.

    I'm so tired of reading in the Oregonian about Democrats ability to raise taxes now as if that's all they were elected for and expected to do.

    All of their reporters continue to frame Democrats as "tax and spenders", and then purport to call it "news".

    While I do see a compelling need for serious tax reform, that should not be the sum total of the majority platform.

    Creating green jobs and a more sustainable economy will go a long ways toward cementing trust with the all voters of Oregon regardless of party. I'd put that right up there with tax reform and health care as a priority.

  • JTT (unverified)

    HH: So why not, in our drawn-out elections, issue nightly results starting with the first day that the ballots come back?

    There's a law (3 U.S.C. ยง1) that sets a single day for presidential elections (i.e. the Tuesday after the first Monday in November). Oregon's vote-by-mail is legal because there's only one day that county clerks actually count ballots (I think). I believe there were court challenges that went all the way to the Supreme Court when Oregon instituted its system that affirmed our process for the fact that there was only one day of counting (again I think...not an expert, maybe Paul Gronke can confirm?).

    If HH is advocating a change in the US Code that's one thing (I think that changing to weekend voting or a national holiday would be a better idea...since the Tuesday thing is based on antiquated agrarian considerations of allowing sufficient travel time for the farmers coming in from the fields to market). However, I think HH is simply one of those kids who couldn't wait for Christmas and had to sneak down to the tree to get a peak at the presents (or coal). And that makes Santa angry.

    On an unrelated note: where do these papers get off saying there isn't a mandate for Democrats? And what's with this uneducated "tax-and-spend" drivel about? I think a utter rejection of Republican candidates and overwhelming supermajority Democratic victories says a lot. If that isn't a mandate, then our elections are meaningless, and these newspapers are advocating for a do nothing legislature. Democrats more than Republicans recognize that good ideas come from all parties, all persuasions and it takes people coming together to move forward. But there's definitely a mandate from the voters and I hope the Dems use it for another banner session. Democrats control the agenda. Republicans and Republicans-only can determine if they are at all relevant in the upcoming session.

  • (Show?)

    I'd certainly be fine with a change to the rules that would allow them to start running ballots through the machines a few days early. Maybe they could start on Monday morning, which gives them a full day's head start. I thought I'd heard they didn't start until later in the day on Tuesday this time - if they started at 7 a.m. on Monday and ran ballots through late that day and then picked back up again at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, we could have ballots a lot sooner.

    I wouldn't want to start too early, though, as that increases the chance of word leaking out about who is ahead. There's a reason why we don't report results until the polls close. That way no one's vote is influenced by who is winning/losing. I don't want that to change. I would be completely against any early releasing of the information.

    What I'm curious to see is...

    1. That ballot counting machine I found the other day - would that one work to count our ballots? It's $70,000 for one machine and according to the specs counts 300 ballots a minute.

    2. How much could our counties make if they sold their old machines, particularly the large counties with multiple machines.

    <h2>3. How much money could we raise in donations to pay for new machines? Obviously even though one would could a lot more than we can do now, you'd still want more than one in case of machine failure.</h2>

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