Writings and observations

Why is it so hard?

Our household has weighed in on just about every election – allowing for the possibility of missing an occasional special minor-district contest – over the last couple of decades and beyond. That’s not a brag, or shouldn’t be: Casting those votes, while the decisions on occasion have been close calls, hasn’t been a difficult thing to do. That was true when we lived in Idaho, and even truer, what with ballots that are mailed to us and can be easily posted back, in Oregon.

Why do so many candidates for higher office seem to have such a hard time doing this basic civic task?

The Oregonian reported last month about Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley, the former basketball player, missing a lot of votes, seven of the last 13 back to 2004, and probably a whole lot before then. Now it has followed up with reports about the mediocre voting patterns of other would-be governors – Democratic former Governor John Kitzhaber, and Republican Allen Alley. Only former Secretary of State (and, therefore, the top elections official in the state), Bill Bradbury, emerged with a good record of casting ballots.

A suggestion: Checks for vote casting ought to be run for candidates for all offices, as a matter of course. Maybe candidates ought to be pressured (not legally required, but pressured) to include the information in their election guide profiles. After all, voters may well want to consider how eager they will be to vote for candidates to can’t be troubled to do as much, in this very basic civic job, as they.

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