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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Missing voter's pamphlet: They say it's just us

We noted yesterday that we never received the Oregon voter's pamphlet in the mail for the current primary election. We e-mailed the county elections folks to ask whether there was any particular problem this time around, and here is what they wrote back:

Mr. Bogdanski,

In the Primary and General Election, the Oregon Secretary of State's office manages the mailing of the Voters' Pamphlet (VP). Their mail house vendor directs the USPS to mail the VP to all residential households. The USPS provides the list of residential households to the Secretary of State's mail house vendor.

We always receive a certain amount of calls from voters saying that they haven't received their VP. In these cases we try to get the voter's address to try to determine if there is a systemic issue or whether it is isolated. We also work closely with the USPS to determine if it was a delivery issue and attempt to resolve it.

We (Multnomah County Elections) have not heard of any unusual issues in this election compared to other elections. For more information I would recommend contacting the Oregon Secretary of State's office. We also have additional copies available in our office or, as you already know, on our website.

Please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.


Tim Scott, Director
Multnomah County Elections

We took Scott's advice and wrote to the secretary of state's office, to which we received this reply:

In most elections, we receive a small number of calls from voters who didn't receive their VPs. This year, I understand the numbers have been in line with previous elections. We've had a Portland City Council candidate and a blogger with problems this spring and we've taken extra care to check, but we still haven't seen any systemic problem. We will, though, continue to look for problems.

Meanwhile, as you point out, voters can get their VPs at the county elections office or go to oregonvotes.org, the Elections Division web site. BTW, voters uncomfortable with entrusting their ballots to the USPS are free to drop them off at an official drop box or at any county elections office. The deadline is 8 pm Tuesday May 18. Postmarks don't count.

It's like being out of work: when it happens to you, it's a totally unacceptable rate....

Don Hamilton
Director of Communications
Oregon Secretary of State

Guess we're not the tip of an iceberg.

Comments (6)

OK Jack, I really want your take on the Hood River Juice Fiasco. I know you like Kroger and keep his picture on your front page but, here is another one under the street car to cover the stink. I was hired as the head chemist for an old factory that used to be in the SoWhat district. I wasn't too concerned when I hired on, we were compliant and I checked our records. I came in one Friday and found the tanks wide open spilling REAL toxins straight down the rain water pipe into the Willamette. When I shut it down the plant manager came out yelling, he had a call from the inspector who would be there Monday, so he was washing the cyanide out of the lines so we could stay compliant. They had friends at city hall. The stink runs real deep!

I assume many registered voters will not participate in the primary. Even fewer (of those who do plan on voting) will take the time to complain if they didn't receive the Voters Pamphlet (VP).

I didn't receive a VP and I didn't report the oversight.

I voted the races where I had already made up my mind, then researched the few races I knew nothing about (i.e. Supreme Court and State Measures).

The absence of complaints may simply evidence of apathy, not affirmation of receipt.

Ditto Mr. Tee.
note on the Hood River Fruit Juice. The chemical they supposedly found was a chlorine. Sodium HyperChlorite is typically the germicide used to stop e-coli and purify most public water systems (you drink it). It is used because it is unstable and breaks down quickly while being a terrific germicide. If spilled on the ground it would not last long enough to reach open water. SOme pretty disturbing aspects to this one.

Re: copies of voters pamphlet. You can always find stacks of voters pamplets at the local post office and at your local library. Regards, Hal

I'm sorry; this just seems ridiculous. If you call and say you didn't get your pamphlet, then the state should just mail you a new one. That's known as constituent service. You can't tell me that they don't have some extras lying around.

This bogus "oh, some people always get missed" as the final answer is, well, bull puckey. Yes, I know things happen, but isn't the main goal to get information to the electorate?

Standards are slipping, people. C'mon.

"We always receive a certain amount of calls from voters who didn't receive their VP".

Jeez, no apology, no remorse. Just "hey, it's par for the course". What if you took that same government involved response and applied it as follows:

(a) air traffic controller after a mid-air disaster: "we always receive a certain amount of calls from airlines whose planes didn't land w/out incident" (i.e. they crashed inflight).

(b) TSA after Times Square bomber incident on Saturday - "we always discover a certain number of profiled no-fly passengers who slipped through the federal system and didn't receive their self-imposed predetermined fate" (i.e. we keep them off airplanes).

(c)lack of oil spill booms on BP rig as per 1996 Clinton-era law mandating them - "we always witness one or two massive oil spills that could have been prevented because legally prescribed environmental protection procedures weren't activated (i.e. somebody is to blame why the oil booms weren't in place on the BP rig)."

Of these 4 situations, making sure people get VP seems the easiest.

BTW if you have severe food allergies and you dine out tomorrow nite, and somebody serves you food that you told them you cannot eat (milk, cheese, peanuts, whatever, in small quantities)and they somehow slip it into your salad anyway... guessing here that their answer needs to be (without guilt) "we always receive a certain amount of calls from patrons who end up in ER who didn't get exactly what they ordered."

Anyway you get the point.

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