What Were They Thinking? Multnomah County’s Non-Citizen Voting Proposal

The election’s over, and Measure 26-231, an appalling proposal to let non-citizens vote in Multnomah County, lost 52.79% – 47.21%. But the fact it even got on the ballot should worry us all. 

What in heaven’s name would have propelled a group of citizens to advocate undermining their constitutional rights with such an alarming proposal? And the fact the measure got 163,163 votes is a distressing reminder that the idea of non-citizen voting is in danger of being normalized.

We need to stop pretending like this is okay or normal because it’s not,”  Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said earlier this year, Non-citizen voting is explicitly un-American and disrespectful to those who fought and died for the preservation of our freedoms and democracy.”

A Charter Review Committee appointed by state senators and representatives who represent districts in Multnomah County initiated the proposal. 

The committee members, all appropriately listing  their She/Her, She/They, They/Them, He/Him pronouns on the committee’s website, were a cabal of overzealous progressives akin to a left-leaning social justice advocacy non-profit intent on remaking the body politic to advance their agenda.

Samantha Gladu (She/They) was described as“…committed to addressing power inequities by building representative and progressive anti-racist leadership.” 

Ana I. González Muñoz (She/Her)…works at Latino Network as the Director of Community Engagement & Leadership Development” and her “… professional and personal commitment revolves around serving her community to advocate for equity, inclusion, and social justice.” 

Jude Perez (They/Them)“…is the Grants Manager at Seeding Justice…an organization that practices community-led grantmaking to distribute funds to grassroots groups that are working towards long-term, systemic solutions, and community-centered strategies to dismantle oppression in Oregon.”

The civic groups that supported the measure[1] deserve to be admonished as well. 

The ACLU of Oregon made the illogical argument that the measure advanced its commitment to the civil liberties and civil rights fundamental to our democracy, ignoring the fact it would mean one less benefit to be gained from becoming a citizen and erode  the integrity of America’s  democracy,

The Oregon Food Bank exceeded its mandate when it endorsed Measure 26-231 because it would “extend voting rights to more local residents who are affected by county policies.”

Measure 26-231 was not just an example of progressive overreach, but of moral rot. It was a sign not of appreciation, but of contempt, for liberal democracy. At its root, it was a progressive attempt to enlarge their base.

The idea made a mockery of citizenship, removing the long-standing linkage between the responsibilities of citizenship and voting rights. 

Before the Nov. 8 election, Ricardo Lujan-Valerio, a policy director to Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio and former policy associate at ACLU of Oregon, told OPB he estimated the committee’s proposal “…could potentially affect up to 100,000 people if the final definition of ‘noncitizen’ includes the roughly 22,000 undocumented residents living in Portland.” It’s not clear if that estimate included not just undocumented people in the county illegally, but also people admitted to the US legally, but not yet US citizens.  

That many non-citizens added to Multnomah County’s voting rolls would have resulted in a substantial dilution of the power of the county’s citizen voters.

Justice Ralph J. Porzio, a State Supreme Court justice on New York City’s Staten Island, raised the dilution issue when, on June 27, 2022, he struck down a law that would have allowed non-citizens to vote in local elections in New York City, saying it violated the State Constitution.

“This Court finds that the registration of new voters will certainly affect voters, political parties, candidate’s campaigns, re-elections, and the makeup of their constituency and is not speculative.,” the judge said in his ruling. “The weight of the citizens’ vote will be diluted by municipal voters and candidates and political parties alike will need to reconfigure their campaigns. Though the Plaintiffs have not suffered any harm today, the harm they will suffer is imminent, and it is reasonably certain that they will suffer their claimed harm if the proposed municipal voters are entitled to vote.”

“Voting is of the most fundamental significance under our constitutional structure…The addition of 800,000 to 1,000,000 non-eligible votes into municipal elections significantly devalues the votes of the New York citizens who have lawfully and meaningfully earned the right to vote pursuant to constitutional requirements.”

The Charter Review Committee’s non-citizen voting proposal would have devalued the votes of citizens in Multnomah County and run counter to the values of our constitutional republic. May it rest in peace.

 

 


[1] ACLU of Oregon; Adelante Mujeres; APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon); Center for Migration, Gender, and Justice; Coalition of Communities of Color; IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization); Latino Network; Next Up; Oregon Food Bank; Oregon Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice.

Dear Rep. Ashley Hinson – Please Stop

Dear Ashley Hinson,

I’m just thrilled.

As Sally Field exclaimed when she accepted the award for best actress at the 57th Academy Awards in 1985, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!”

Why else would you send me dozens of emails asking me for money since you won your race on Nov. 8 to represent Iowa’s 2nd congressional district as a Republican? I’m just tickled that you want to keep the “MOMENTUM alive…to restore the CONSERVATIVE AGENDA in our effort to get our country back on the RIGHT TRACK” and I’m certainly more fearful after getting one of your messages today telling me “Americans are being turned against one another as the Democrats bring CHAOS and FEAR into our country. “

I don’t really want to give you any money, however. So I responded to your first email by clicking “unsubscribe”. But that didn’t stop your emails. No sirree. You’ve been a persistent one, shooting me more pleading emails just about every day, often several a day, even though I keep clicking “unsubscribe” on every single one.

I thought about complaining to some government agency so they could stop your email barrage. 

But I was astonished to discover there’s little I can do to stop your messages.

The emails are the result of vendors who buy and sell and share lists,” according to Eitan D. Hersh, an associate professor of political science at Tufts University. “You can unsubscribe from various lists, but that’s about all you can do.”

And unsubscribing from or blocking one email list doesn’t stop the deluge coming from another list.

“That, of course, is like playing whack-a-mole,” says Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus. “The harsh reality is that your contact information — and lots more info — is bought and sold every day by hundreds of data brokers. Once your personal information is out there, it’s out there.

As Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler put it, “The few existing rules for spam, robocalls and personal data expressly don’t apply to politicians. Even clicking “Unsubscribe” often doesn’t do anything but generate more unwanted messages.”

Politicians like you always figure out a way to take care of themselves, don’t they?

Regards,

Bill M.

Lake Oswego, Oregon

More Cuts Could Be Coming at Three Oregon Newspapers

More layoffs may be near at already depleted Gannett newspapers in Oregon.

Gannett, the owner of the Statesman Journal in Salem, The Register-Guard in Eugene and the Daily Journal of Commerce in Portland, says it plans to cut more staff in its news division and will notify affected employees on Dec. 1-2, 2022. 

“While we have taken several steps already, we must enter the new year in a stronger economic position, and the reality is that our news cost base is currently too high for the revenues it generates,” Henry Faure Walker, who is temporarily overseeing Gannett’s U.S. news operations, wrote in a recent memo to employees. “Regretfully, this means we will be implementing further reductions.”

The cuts will follow the company’s net loss of $54.1 million in the three months ending Sept. 30 and previous nationwide layoffs that affected its Oregon operations. About 400 employees were laid off earlier this year.

Gannett has also paused its 401(k) match and most hiring, offered employees a voluntary severance plan and is having workers take five days of unpaid leave. 

The Statesman Journal, Oregon’s second-oldest newspaper, was sold to Gannett in 1973. Currently listing 15 reporters on its website, it has been steadily shrinking in staff and as a reliable news source. The paper is one of the Gannett properties that lost staff in cutbacks earlier this year. 

The Register-Guard, formed in a 1930 merger of two Eugene papers, the Eugene Daily Guard and the Morning Register, was acquired by GateHouse Media in 2018. At the time, the paper had 240 full-and part-time employees. The newspaper has been owned by Gannett since Gannett’s 2019 merger with Gatehouse. The paper’s current website lists just 5 reporters. 

Founded in 1872, the Daily Journal of Commerce (DJC) provides resources and reporting on the Portland, Oregon building and construction market. Owned by Gannett through its BridgeTower Media division, the paper has a circulation of 1,966, according to the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

Worried About Getting Into An Oregon Public University? Don’t Be.

What’s all the angst about getting into college?

Sure, Harvard University admitted only 3.2% of the 61,220 people who applied to join the fall 2022 class, but Harvard’s not typical.

According to U.S. News & World Report, college acceptance rates average 68%. Pew Research Center found that over half of U.S. universities have an admissions rate of at least 67%.

Then there’s Oregon.

Can you breathe, fog up a mirror? If yes, just submit an application and you’ll probably be accepted at some of Oregon’s public universities.

Acceptance rates at Oregon’s seven public universities are unusually high. For the 2022-2023 academic year, they ranged from a high of 98.43% at Portland State University (PSU) to a low of 89.21% at Oregon State University (OSU):

           School                                Acceptance Rate (%)  

Portland State University                         98.43

Eastern Oregon University                       97.68

University of Oregon                                93.00

Western Oregon University                      91.57

Oregon Institute of Technology                90.62

Southern Oregon University                     89.70

Oregon State University                            89.21

Not only are acceptance rates high at Oregon’s public universities, but they’ve been going up.

At the University of Oregon, for example, the average acceptance rate over the past 10 years is 79.89%, but it has been fairly steadily increasing from 72.96% for the 2012-13 academic year to 93.00% for the 2022-23 academic year.

So hang in there high school seniors. If you want to go to an Oregon public university there will probably be a spot for you.