Local elected officials count. Our many local elected officials – City Councilors, County Commissioners, and County Clerk – make the decisions that have the biggest impact on our daily lives, from how to enact policy to setting budgetary priorities, from planning for emergencies to making decisions on day to day operations. Your local elected official is your direct link to local government and community level decision-making.
Local elections count. These local offices that make the most direct impact on your daily life will be found further down your ballot, after the federal and state positions, and even after the state judges. These are also nonpartisan offices with no party affiliation after the candidate’s name.
Many voters forget to vote across the whole ballot or don’t feel as prepared to vote for local races. The same effort, funds, or media coverage is not put into the city council race as the Governor’s race. Accurate and trustworthy information about local contests and candidates is more difficult to find.
As an experienced elections administrator and former public librarian, I recommend these nonpartisan resources for evaluating local candidates:
- Candidate statements in the State and County Voters’ Pamphlet. This pamphlet is mailed to all households mid-October and available online now.
- The League of Women Voters Voting Guide and candidate interviews are available online at Vote411.org.
- Election coverage in established and trusted media such as the local newspaper and news stations. You can do a Google search for the candidate or race and filter results by news.
- Consulting with trusted family, friends, and neighbors. Voting is an act of community care and civic engagement.
Vote across your ballot. In the Clackamas County Clerk contest I urge you to use the resources above and make an informed choice for our next County Clerk. This important but overlooked office conducts elections, oversees the Recording office, and can choose to officiate weddings. The County Clerk is the critical connection between the citizen and their local government. This November we have the opportunity to elect a County Clerk that will ensure that local government works for us again, but we have to vote!
In 2018, the last time the current clerk was up for re-election more than 52,000 voters left the County Clerk race blank, choosing neither candidate. Clerk Sherry Hall won re-election by only 5,921 votes. That is a 35% undervote in a race that was won by less than 4%. What that means is that almost two out of every five voters who turned in their ballot, sat out on making a choice for County Clerk, the very office that is responsible for issuing, verifying, and counting that ballot.
Tuesday, October 18 is the Voter Registration Deadline for the November 8 General Election. Ballots begin to be mailed to voters the next day. I urge you not to sit out on these important local decisions, but to step up and make an informed choice for County Clerk so that we can have the timely, transparent, and trusted elections all Clackamas County citizens deserve.
Catherine McMullen lives in West Linn with her family, is a certified election administrator and candidate for Clackamas County Clerk.
A version of this piece appeared in the Clackamas Review on October 3, 2022, Clerk candidate: Fill in Clackamas County races on your ballot. Sources for Opinion Editorial:
- November 8, General Election information from Clackamas County: https://www.clackamas.us/elections/nov-8-2022-general-election
- League of Women Voters Vote411.org: https://www.vote411.org/
- 2018 Election Official Results: https://dochub.clackamas.us/documents/drupal/f4e7f0fb-250a-4992-918d-26c5f726de3c