A lot is on the line in the election coming up Nov. 8—an election traditionally called the "midterms" because it's the one that happens smack-dab in the middle of the current president's term.
But if you've been paying any kind of attention, then you know that it doesn't take a presidential election to make an election season a nail-biter. With the reversal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court this year, many voters are looking to candidates in gubernatorial and House and Senate races to determine their stance on abortion. State leaders and those in Washington, D.C., will certainly be looking at the results of this election as a bellwether about how Americans feel about this wedge issue. If abortion is an important issue for you, then you should vote.
More locally, plenty of Oregon candidates have spent this campaign season talking about the myriad problems our state faces. Graduation rates and test scores are certainly on the ballot this term. If those issues are important to you, then you should vote.
Likewise, every candidate running for office in Oregon has offered some type of lip service about the homelessness crisis in our state. Some have simply advocated for "change," even if that change doesn't yet involve any concrete plans for what they'd do differently. Pay attention to exactly what candidates say and their depth of knowledge about the mechanisms that can legally, realistically be used to help ease this crisis, and then vote.
In our cities, including Bend, housing and the construction of more of it is a major issue. Pay attention to the candidates who spout platitudes. Look for the ones who have done more than complain and have instead proposed ideas and solutions. Then vote.
All year long, journalists locally and nationally spend a lot of time talking to, listening to and attending meetings with the people who make decisions that impact your lives, all the while seeking to hold local governments and their elected representatives accountable to you—to us—those of us who live, work and play in their constituencies. It is this connection and this close attention to the biggest issues of the day that make us—journalists and our attendant editorial boards—qualified to issue endorsements of candidates. We do this not to polarize or ostracize certain members of the community, but to lend our experience over months and years of covering governments to offer an informed hand to voters. Agree or not with the endorsements you'll find inside this issue, but read them, read other endorsements, do other research—and whatever you do, vote.
With automatic, motor-voter registration, voters' pamphlets and pre-stamped ballots that arrive right at your door, Oregon makes it easy for you to hold up your end of the democratic bargain. Don't take this for granted; all these initiatives are the product of forward-thinking leaders who cared more about taking the pulse of the entire electorate than about tinkering with voter access enough to alter election outcomes. Many states don't even have a voters' pamphlet, let alone the other initiatives mentioned. Our elections locally remain free and fair and dutifully administered—but just in case, we asked the current sitting county commissioners running for re-election for their take. They underlined their faith in the electoral system here in Deschutes County. We'd love to live in a world where that didn't have to be asked, but we did, and it says something to know that our leaders still hold that confidence.
Whatever the outcome of this election, many people have done much work to allow voters this type of access, this depth of information and this level of confidence in the process. Now, all you have to do is vote.