Editorial: Don’t surrender your vote

Published Sep 26, 2013 at 05:00AM

The worst thing about the Nov. 5 election could be its turnout.

There’s no presidential race at the top of the ticket. There are no congressional elections. There are no city council races, no school boards, no judges.

Local ballots will have local tax measures. There’s a lodging tax increase in Bend and in Deschutes County. Some people in Jefferson and Deschutes will be voting on a levy for Crooked River Ranch. Folks in the Alfalfa area will be voting on a fire district. There’s a jail levy in Jefferson, and in Culver there’s a $8 million school bond.

Of course, people care about taxes. But if you look at the history of voter turnout for elections similar to this one at the Secretary of State’s website, turnout drops by as much as 20 percentage points in such elections.

Locally, that could mean many fewer voters decide the taxes for everyone else. That would be a pitiful example to children of why being able to vote matters so dearly.

It’s not OK not to vote. It’s not OK to be too busy to peer into the voters pamphlet and figure out what the issues are.

The people who research such things say that one of the most powerful persuaders to get people to vote can be peer pressure. So put the pressure on when you hear one of the custodians of excuses looking to surrender a vote without a fight.

If you’re not registered, you have until Oct. 15 to change that. Most people can do it online at oregonvotes.org. It only takes a few minutes. Ballots go out on Oct. 18.