Convention Resolution

Resolution 34: Support and Expand Oregon’s Vote-by-Mail Elections in Other States

Submitted by Oregon AFL-CIO

WHEREAS, the experience in Oregon proves Vote-by-Mail is a successful, fraud-free, and voter-friendly model for election administration; and

WHEREAS, Vote-by-Mail elections result in increased voter participation with Oregon having the third highest turnout in the nation at 86.5 percent and the highest among states in the 2004 presidential election that do not have same-day voter registration; and

WHEREAS, Oregon’s union movement has used Vote-by-Mail to improve the participation of union members and their family members in the state’s elections, reaching a 91 percent turnout of union household voters in 2004; and

WHEREAS, Vote-by-Mail in Oregon has been used in local elections since 1981 and has resulted in increased voter participation in these elections; and

WHEREAS, Vote-by-Mail is voter friendly and convenient by eliminating the need for voters to go to a polling place and stand in line for their turn to vote, by accommodating shift workers as well as disabled voters and by giving the voter two weeks to make a reasoned decision about their votes in their own home; and

WHEREAS, Vote-by-Mail provides a paper trail of optical scan ballots that can be recounted by 94 machine or by hand to prove that every vote was counted accurately; and

WHEREAS, every signature of every voter is checked on Vote-by-Mail ballots by election officials to safeguard the system against fraud; and

WHEREAS, Vote-by-Mail ballots are not forwarded by the U.S. Postal Service but returned to election clerks to keep voter rolls accurate and constantly updated; and

WHEREAS, centralized supervision of ballot processing in county clerks’ offices maintains uniformity and strict compliance with laws throughout the state; and

WHEREAS, Vote-by-Mail elections not only increase participation, are convenient, accurate and fraud free, they also cost taxpayers one-third less than polling place elections;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Oregon AFL-CIO adopt and forward this resolution to the national AFL-CIO and ask that the national AFL-CIO distribute educational materials in support of Voteby-Mail to their affiliates; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the national AFL-CIO encourage affiliates to pursue statewide and local election reform to allow for permanent absentee voter status, test of Vote-by-Mail elections and ultimately permanent Vote-by-Mail elections in each state.