Oregon Votes: FAQs on Vote by Mail and How to Track Results

The following is the updated version of a FAQ guide I published before OR's primary in May talking about how Oregon's Vote by Mail system works.  In addition, I have added information on how to interpret Oregon's results on election night.

Cross-Posted from Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/20 /12923/777/307/636329

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Time to raise money for other good progressive challengers

It's fantastic that the netroots got behind Democratic Congressional candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg last night after Michelle Bachmann disgraced herself on Hardball. An astounding $488,000 has been raised for Tinklenberg's campaign during the last 24 hours. That's more than enough for him to run an aggressive paid media and GOTV effort during the next 16 days in Minnesota's sixth district.

I'll have more to say on this subject tomorrow, but this is a quick hit to urge you to start directing your resources toward other progressive candidates. There are other Republican incumbents who are terrible and offensive, like Bachmann.

We have a great opportunity to take advantage of the coming Democratic wave. This post at Swing State Project notes that seats once thought safe for Republicans are becoming competitive across the country.

Your money will have more impact now if you donate to good candidates who are not getting a huge influx of cash from the DCCC or other outside groups.

Yesterday at Bleeding Heartland, I made the case for helping Rob Hubler get his message out in Iowa's fifth district, where he faces Steve "ten worst" King. Hubler is a strong Democrat who supports the Responsible Plan for Iraq and spoke out against the FISA bill. Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund is supporting him.

Hubler has already been up on the radio with at least one ad, featuring former Congressman Berkley Bedell. The Hubler campaign has also produced this voter guide (pdf file) to mail district-wide. To reach more voters through direct mail and broadcast media, the campaign needs your help. Please donate to Hubler today, or to some other strong progressive challenger's campaign. Pouring more money into MN-06 now is not likely to change that election outcome.

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How good is your state's "election readiness"?

Yesterday the creator of the Iowa Voters blog let Bleeding Heartland readers know that "The Brennan Center (with help from Sean Flaherty of Iowans for Voting Integrity) has released a major report on the status of election readiness."

I recommend checking out this report to see how your state matches up. Iowa does fairly well. Thanks to the efforts of Secretary of State Mike Mauro, we adopted a law earlier this year banning touchscreen voting machines. Also, Iowa has same-day voter registration, which means very few people will have to use provisional ballots if they show up on election day and are not on the voter rolls.

In fact, the Iowa Voters blogger noted,

Iowa is one of eight states given credit for "best practices" in ballot accounting and reconciliation. See the third map.

On the other hand, we fall into the black space on the bottom map regarding audits of the machine readout. That's Mauro's next challenge. Someone needs to hand count some ballots after the polls close to see that the machines got it right in their hi-speed readings. Haste makes waste! Slow down and double check the damned things!

That challenge is for the government to face next legislative session. If we get good audits we can join the list of only six states that get shaded green on the top map (Alaska, Oregon, California, North Carolina, and our neighbors Missouri and Minnesota).

I agree that we need to have better audit procedures for our optical scanner counts, but I'm very relieved we won't have to worry about some Iowa counties using touchscreen machines. It looks like the presidential race in Iowa will be a blowout for Barack Obama, but we could easily have Congressional or state legislative races that are close enough to require recounts.

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OR-Sen: Longshore Workers Say NO WAY to Gordon Smith

In the first debate between Republican Gordon Smith and Oregon's House Speaker Jeff Merkley, Smith touted his work with Oregon's Longshore workers. Here's what Smith had to say:

And I have been a voice for rural Oregon. You see what Pendleton wheat farmers need is Portland long shore man. I bridged that gap. Jeff Merkley makes it much deeper.

Oregon's Longshore workers are not having it. More below the fold....

Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley

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What to do if you get push-polled

I'm re-posting a piece I wrote over the summer, because robocalls against Barack Obama and other Democrats are hitting phones in a bunch of swing states.

Two days before the June 3 Democratic primary in Iowa, I received an automated push-poll, followed the next day by a second robocall containing "important information" for me. Both calls were hit jobs on Jerry Sullivan, the leading Democratic candidate in Iowa House district 59.

Many of us will receive similar calls between now and November. We need to be prepared to help the Democrats who will be targeted in this way.

My number one piece of advice is do not hang up the phone.

Do not hang up the moment you hear an automated voice on the other end.

Do not hang up the moment you are asked to participate in a brief survey.

Do not hang up the moment you realize that this is not a legitimate opinion poll.

Stay on the line and grab a pen and paper for taking notes.

Follow me after the jump for further instructions.

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