This Primary season the League’s work to inform voters about candidates and issues has increased importance. Redistricting has changed the Legislative or Congressional district for many Oregonians. Retirements due to personal reasons or term limits (e.g. Gov Brown) have opened the field to many candidates. The Covid pandemic will discourage in-person events. Peggy Bengry has joined the LWVOR board to oversee Voter Education. Our Voters’ Guide printer and the state’s Talking Books and Braille Library are on board. A qualified Vote-411 Administrator, Janet Watson (who is also an LWV Mississippi board member), is handling that part of the effort. The state League will handle Vote411 entries for Congressional and State-wide and state legislative issues and candidates, and for local issues and candidates in areas that have no local League. Jean Cowan has taken the role of voter service chair for LWV Lincoln County. She will arrange forums or interviews with candidates in local contested races. If the pandemic permits, perhaps we can have forums with audience and participants in -person.
Local leagues are asked to handle inputting Vote411 data for county, municipal, and assorted district board (school, fire, road, etc.) candidates and issues. The state League has asked to be informed of any local races that appear on our ballot as soon as possible. They will want candidate information immediately after the March 7th filing deadline. Robin Wedertz and Ruth Kistler have volunteered for this task and will likely need additional member help in March. After primary election candidate filing closes on March 7th, the state League will invite all Oregon candidates whose filings include contact emails to publicize their information on our Vote-411 site. We will be asked to encourage and remind our candidates to look out for their Vote-411 invitation! LWVOR will again grant our League (up to) $300 to advertise Vote411. Printed Voters’ Guides will be available at no cost to local Leagues. How many (English/Spanish) do we want, and where can we distribute them? A kickoff meeting for local league voter service chairs and Vote-411 volunteers was held January 14. A recording of that meeting is available.