Pamplin Media Group – Clerk candidate: Fill in Clackamas County races on your ballot

Catherine McMullen – This is an important, but often overlooked, clerk’s bureau that conducts elections and can be asked to officiate weddings.

Local elected officials matter. Our many local elected officials — city councilors, Clackamas 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 direct link to local government is your local elected official.

Local elections are important. These local offices have the greatest impact on your daily life and will be located further down your ballot, after the state and federal positions and even after state judges. These offices are nonpartisan and have no party affiliation.

Many voters forget or aren’t prepared to vote for local elections. The same effort, funding or media coverage is not given to the City Council races that the governor’s. It is difficult to find accurate and reliable information about local contests, candidates, and elections.

As an experienced election administrator and former public library librarian, I recommend these nonpartisan resources to help evaluate local candidates.

• Candidate statements in the state and county Voters’ Pamphlet. This pamphlet is mailed to all households mid-October and is available online at clackamas.us/elections.

• The League of Women Voters’ guide and candidate interviews are available online at Vote411.org.

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• Election coverage in established and trusted media such as the local newspaper and news stations. You can use Google to search for the candidate/race and filter results using news.

• Consulting with trusted family, friends and neighbors. Voting is a form of civic engagement and community care.

Vote across your ballot. I urge you to use these resources to make an informed decision about the next Clackamas County Clerk. This important office, often overlooked, conducts elections and oversees the recording office. They can also officiate weddings. The county clerk is the crucial link between citizens and their local government. We have the opportunity to elect a new county clerk in November. However, we must vote!

More than 52,000 voters voted for neither candidate in the 2018 election for the county clerk. Clerk Sherry H. was reelected by just 5,921 votes. This is a 35% undervote for a race that was not won by more than 4%. That means that almost two out five voters who submitted ballots did so without making a choice for the county clerk. This office is responsible for verifying, issuing and counting ballots.

Tuesday, Oct. 18, is the deadline for voter registration for the Nov.8 general election. Ballots will be mailed to voters within 24 hours. I urge you to not sit back on these important local decisions. Instead, make informed choices for your county clerk to ensure that we have timely, transparent, and trusted elections that Clackamas County residents deserve.

Catherine McMullen resides in West Linn, where she lives with her family. She is a certified election administrator, and is currently running for Clackamas County Clerk.


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