This year, for the first time, I’m an Oregon voter, in Columbia County. We vote by mail (or by dropping your ballot in a designated drop box), so there’s no issues with lines or whatnot. We’ve also got basically-automatic registration, which is nice. I do miss the ritual associated with going to a polling place (and the sticker!), but overall I think this is a win.

Federal issues

US Representative, Oregon’s 1st District: Suzanne Bonamici

Obviously. We need the Democrats to retake the house. That is the single most important thing in this election, and this is how to help make that happen. Bonamici has a solid voting record, particularly over the past two years, working to keep the regressive faction of our government in check.

State Offices

Here’s who I voted for in the races which have multiple names on the ballot. For the rest, I didn’t write anyone in, but as a rule I skip items which only have one name on the ballot.

Governor: Kate Brown

She’s done a good job so far, and she’s the only realistic candidate who we can trust to work for any progressive values, especially protection of women’s rights, environmental concerns, and decent wages. Her main opponent talks like a moderate, but has a history of supporting many of our current US administration’s worst behaviors (and identifies as a Republican, which is a major red flag).

State Senator, 16th District: Betsy Johnson

Johnson is not super exciting. She’s very centrist. But she’s a Democrat, which is good for caucusing purposes, and the only other name on the ballot is from the Constitution Party, who are uniformly terrible.

State Representative, 31st District: Brad Witt

Witt’s a reliable Democrat, and will work for progressive values I believe in, although my impression is that he’s more centrist than I prefer. That’s okay; I’m not so delusional to believe that I need to have some perfect candidate in order to vote for them.

State Issues

tl;dr: Yes on 102, No on everything else.

Measure 102: Yes

This measure, if passed, makes it easier to fund public housing efforts. This will result in more affordable housing options. That’s a good thing.

Measure 103: No

I’m slightly conflicted on this one. A “no” vote, though, preserves the status quo, which is that we don’t have taxes on groceries today, and there are no plans to implement them. I do think we shouldn’t tax groceries, but a Constitutional amendment to guard against a non-existent threat seems bad.

Measure 104: No

In short: this measure would make it significantly harder for the state government to raise revenue. It does not impact the effort/votes required to raise taxes or levies.

Measure 105: No (very, very No)

Sanctuary laws make your community safer. This has been proven out at the state and municipal level all over the country. So the question in this bill is, in part, “do you want your community to be less safe?”. Sanctuary laws are also more just, as they avoid going after people who are, by and large, productive, contributing members of society. In addition, there’s no reason the state should be spending state funds to do the Feds' job. Repealing Oregon’s sanctuary laws would be bad on every level.

Measure 106: No (very, very No)

There is no reason to impose the government in what should be discussions solely between a patient and doctor. Oregon, today, has perhaps the most just laws in the country on abortion, including the fact that we don’t discriminate against women on public insurance. We should not be compromising these women’s care.

Local Offices and Issues

Columbia County Sherriff: Jim Gibson

All three candidates are well to the right of me, politically, but nobody on the ticket seems to be crazy. Both Gibson and Brown seem like reasonable choices; Pixley made me uncomfortable on a few fronts, including an endorsement from the county Republicans. I went with Gibson over Brown mostly because while both seem to support Measure 105, which I think is a terrible measure, Brown has stated he wishes it went farther.

Columbia River PUD: Debbie Reed

She’s qualified, and has been doing the job. Her opponent on the ballot does not seem to have any relevant qualifications.

Measure 5-270: No

This is a very extreme bill, taking any sort of regulatory power out of the county’s toolbox. If you believe any regulations on weapons ownership can sometimes be appropriate, you should vote “no” on this; if you’d prefer a world where people should be able to carry assault rifles with flash suppressors and 25-round magazines into schools, this is the bill for you. Phrasing this as a “Second Amendment Preservation” issue is particularly offensive as the Second Amendment explicitly talks about the importance of “a well-regulated militia”, and this measure would curtail the ability of the government to ensure that the militia is so regulated.

Bonus: Ohio

I was an Ohio voter until recently, and I still have strong community ties there. I haven’t been following very many things closely (and the ballot there is much longer than my Oregon one), but a few brief notes:

Issue 1: Yes

This is a very strong criminal justice reform measure. It would reduce prison populations in the state, better fund treatment options, and generally give offenders an improved chance of re-integrating into society. There are some legitimate concerns over implementation of the treatment programs in the initial implementation period, but those are far outweighed by the long-term benefits, both to convicted individuals and the broader community. The opposition to this bill has mostly focused on scare tactics and the false idea that most drug offenders are inherently violent; they are not. Issue 1 does nothing to ease things for violent offenders or drug traffickers.

Governor: Richard Cordray

He has strong experience, both in the Federal government and Ohio’s. I’m particularly pleased with his tenure at the CFPB, which he was appointed to run by President Obama.

U.S. Senate: Sherrod Brown

Brown is a good advocate for progressive values. He’s been to the right of me on some things, but, again, I’m not looking for some dream candidate here. Although now that you mention it…

U.S. House of Representatives, Ohio District 1: Marcia Fudge

Having Marcia Fudge as my representative might be (positive) thing I miss most about Ohio politics. She’s great on pretty much every issue I care about. If you get the chance to vote for Rep. Fudge, you absolutely should.

Also, as a rule, vote against people who’s party is run by white supremacists.