Voting is an almost sacred activity in the United States. The activity has been lauded by the American founders, politicians, philosophers, and activists throughout this country’s existence. Samuel Adams called voting “one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which [the voter] is accountable to God and his country.” Alexander Hamilton described voting as “a share in the sovereignty of the state.” Thomas Jefferson said it was “the rational and peaceable instrument of reform.” More recently, current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “Voting is the most precious right of every citizen.”
Not everyone, though, has enjoyed the results of voting. As Theodore Roosevelt pointed out, “A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” In a democracy, theoretically, anyone of legal age can vote, regardless of age, gender, political leanings, or education level. For most, this makes sense. For others, this infuriates them, as elections do not always go the way some may want.
In recent decades, significant discussion has arose on how one should vote in light of the two-party dominance of American politics by the Democratic and Republican parties. Some say you should vote for the lesser of two evils. Some say you should be pragmatic; others say you should be principled. But this is not even a recent debate. Going back to the 1800s, Americans debated about how one should vote. John Quincy Adams, for example, lauded voting by principle, saying, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
Diversity of Lane County Voters
Residents of Lane County will once again have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday, November 6. As it is the general election, many important offices will be up for grabs — not just locally but also statewide and nationally, most notably with the Presidential election. If you want to vote on November 6, however, you must make sure you are registered to vote. The deadline for voter registration for Lane County residents for the upcoming election is today, Tuesday, at 11:59 pm.
Especially in Oregon, the results of this election might be a bit revolutionary. Significant changes in voter patterns have emerged this year. For example, 76 percent of Oregon voters were members of one of the two major political parties during the last Presidential election 4 years ago. This election season, though, both parties have fewer members — and more importantly, they have fewer members even though total voter registration has increased. This indicates Oregon voters are increasingly dissatisfied with the two-party system. Voters with no party affiliations grew 11% and members of the Independent Party almost tripled.
Here are some interesting numbers about Lane County, politically:
200,000+: Number of people registered to vote
353,000+: Number of residents
1000+: The number of voter registration cards daily received by Lane County Elections
90,000+: Number of registered Democrats
57,000+: Number of registered Republicans
59,000+: Number of registered voters not affiliated with a major party
How to Register to Vote
If you are wanting to vote and have not yet registered, you have less than a day to do so. So be quick! Here is how you can:
1) In person: You can submit a voter registration form in person to Lane County Elections until 4 pm today. Download and print the form here. Then take the form to the elections office at 275 W. 10th Ave., on the corner of 10th Avenue and Lincoln Street. Public office hours are 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
2) By mail: Download and print a voter registration form here. Then take it to your nearest post office in time to be postmarked today, October 16. Mail it to Lane County Elections, 275 W 10th Ave, Eugene OR 97401.
3) Online: You can register to vote online through the Oregon Secretary of State website here. Note: online option is available only to those with a valid Oregon driver’s license, DMV-issued ID card or learner’s permit. Online registration is open until 11:59 pm tonight.
If you are 17 right now but will be 18 on or before Election Day on November 6, you may still register by tomorrow and receive a ballot. Ballots will be mailed out on October 20 and 21.
For more information about voter registration and the upcoming election, visiting Lane County Elections’ website or call their office at 541-682-4234.