Are you trying to increase voter education in your community? Organizers in Tillamook County figured out a way to guarantee that everyone can be informed about candidates running for local office. They devised a plan that encourages cities to distribute Voter Pamphlets to residents. So far, they have been successful getting resolutions passed in Wheeler, Nehalem and Bay City, plus, three more cities have public hearings scheduled! You can see the full text of the resolution adopted by the City of Wheeler below.
The Oregon elections division publishes a voters’ pamphlet for each Primary and General Election, as well as for any state special election. A copy is mailed to every household in the state but information about city-level positions is not included. This can create barriers to finding information about candidates running for city council or mayor.
ROP human dignity group, Tillamook Democracy Project, was looking for ways to increase voter education and participation in elections across party lines. They realized that voters have no easy way of finding information about the folks running for local office. They thought a Voters’ Pamphlet produced by the cities would allow voters to compare candidates and ultimately encourage more participation and education around their local election. They knew that spring was when their cities’ budgets are drafted and decided on, so Tillamook Democracy Project introduced the resolutions in time for the costs of voter pamphlets to be incorporated into city budgets for the next election cycle.
First, the group drafted a sample city council resolution with language that would show support for democracy and education to appeal to a wide political cross-section of people. They simultaneously created a sample Voters’ Pamphlet that included typical cost for production and postage. Their next move was to identify supportive officials who could introduce the resolution in each city. They relied on their personal connections and experience in the community to identify who these folks would be. Tillamook Democracy Project provided a draft resolution and cost breakdown to each of these officials, so the resolutions could be introduced and hopefully make it to public hearing. Finally, they committed to helping publicize the hearings and encourage turnout in support of the resolutions by reaching out to folks in their database and also advertising in the two local papers.
Their outreach paid off: to date their resolutions have passed in the cities of Wheeler, Nehalem, and Bay City and they have resolutions scheduled for public hearing in Garibaldi, Rockaway, and Manzanita, almost all the cities in Tillamook County!
Focusing on voter education and getting out the vote is a great way to reach out to all members of the community to encourage participation in the democratic process. Does your city and county already distribute a Voters’ Pamphlet? Do they distribute the pamphlet for every election cycle, or only the primary years? Are there gaps in voter education that your group has identified in your own community? Looking for more ways to get out the vote? We would love to hear from you! Reach out to your local ROP organizer, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monica P and the ROP team
Here is the Resolution adopted by the City of Wheeler:
CITY OF WHEELER
RESOLUTION NO. 2022 – 02
A Resolution to Educate Voters with a City of Wheeler Pamphlet
WHEREAS, the right to vote is guaranteed under the US Constitution, and
WHEREAS, the City Council of Wheeler believes educated voters are central to a healthy democracy, and
WHEREAS, Tillamook County nor the State of Oregon provide information to voters about candidates for local offices.
NOW THEREFORE, the City of Wheeler will send a voters pamphlet to all households in the City of Wheeler for the November 8, 2022, election providing information about candidate for City Council and other measures and candidates relevant to City of Wheeler residents, and
THEREFORE, the City of Wheeler will allocate funds to pay for the design, production and mailing of a Voters Pamphlet to every household in the city including the following, but not limited to the following, information:
- Information and a photo (optional) provided by the candidates in a format provided by the city
- Information about any ballot measures, tax levies or bonds on the ballot impacting residents of the City of Wheeler
- How to register to vote
The City Council shall establish rules regarding the format and length of statements and may require candidates to pay a fee or submit signatures to be to be included in the pamphlet.
This Resolution shall become effective immediately upon passage by the City Council. ADOPTED by the City Council on this 15th day of February 2022, by the following vote:
WHEELER, OREGON Aye Nay Absent / Abstain
Jim King, Council President
Michael Glowa, Councilor
Clif Kemp, Councilor
Gordon Taylor, Councilor
Jay Verburg, Councilor