By Jim Heffernan
That’s not a joke. Our Democracy is not only threatened, but it was dealt a body blow.
It’s not some sinister foreign conspiracy which threatens us. The threat is right here in Tillamook. And it’s not just a few of us, it’s more than two-thirds of us. (67.15% to be exact.) That’s the percentage of people who couldn’t be bothered to turn in ballots in the 2021 May Special Election.
These are particularly shameful numbers when you consider that all you have to do to vote in Oregon is open the ballot that comes to you in the mail, mark it, and put it back in the mail. You don’t even have to buy a stamp! You can even choose your moment so you don’t have to get wet.
As a direct consequence of this pitiful turnout, a small but intensely active minority of Tillamook was able to elect a slate of school board members that transformed our school board. In an almost sleight-of-maneuver, a mere 200 out an electorate of 8,000+ were able to determine the composition of our school board. And, it could happen again – on various boards throughout the County.
For the 40 plus years that I know of (and I feel sure all the years before I got here) the school board was a totally apolitical, nonpartisan group, dedicated solely to the well-being of the students, the teachers and the community. Since the disastrous 2021 election, the majority of the Tillamook school board seem to sometimes place political theater above the welfare of the community.
I’m a crochety old man. Like everyone, my viewpoints can easily be wrong. But my numbers are true.
Please Tillamook, VOTE in this upcoming May election. I may not like the way it turns out, but it will be acceptable if the election is at least decided by a majority of the voters. That’s democracy. We can live with it, I don’t believe we can prosper without it. Your vote really does make a difference.