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In roughly 10 weeks Oregon voters will be tasked with casting ballots in the May primary election

In roughly 10 weeks Oregon voters will be tasked with casting ballots in the May primary election. Many will exercise that inalienable right by not voting, choosing rather to complain about the system without having the courage to do something to improve it.

That's a pity and a threat to democracy.

Candidates for president started last year campaigning for votes, although they haven't shown up in Oregon as the state is one of the last to hold its primary.

It's also because Oregon is not a so-called "Battleground State," meaning in the larger scheme of things Oregon's popular votes and delegates to the Electoral College pale in comparison to its neighbor to the south or Ohio or Florida or New York.

In Yamhill County, voters will decide the fate of a number of races, perhaps most importantly whether incumbent Rick Olson will serve another term as the Position 2 county commissioner. Should he decide to run for re-election, he will have company in the race as two individuals have filed for his spot – challengers Barbara Boyer and Lindsay Berschauer.

Three candidates is a small field for commissioner in Yamhill County these days. Past elections have seen five or more candidates for a single commissioner spot, making it difficult for voters to make a choice.

But earning the commissioner spot doesn't come without a challenge as one candidate must earn at least 50 percent of the votes cast in order to avoid a runoff during the general election in November.

In the race for county treasurer, past commissioner candidate Kris Bledsoe will face Paulette Alexandria. The spot will open at year's end upon the retirement of longtime treasurer Mike Green.

A number of incumbents will not face challengers come May, including Assessor/Tax Collector Derrick Wharff, County Clerk Brian Van Bergen and District Attorney Brad Berry.

On the local front it should be noted that elected positions in Newberg and Dundee government are not decided in the primary, but rather will wait until the general election in November.

Newberg will have three councilors up for re-election in November – longtime incumbent Denise Bacon and relative newcomers Elise Yarnell Hollamon and Gene Piros.

In Dundee, Mayor David Russ's spot will up for re-election as will council positions currently held by Jeanette Adlong, Tim Weaver and Kristen Svicarovich.

The filing deadline for those races is in late summer.

On the state front, state reps. Bill Post (House District 25) and Ron Noble (HD 24) are both up for re-election. As of Monday neither faced challengers in the primary election in May. Both are expected to face Democratic challengers in the fall for districts that have historically trended conservative and Republican.

An effort to recall Newberg's mayor and a council member will not appear on the primary election ballot should organizers gather sufficient signatures. Instead, a special election would be held, likely in June, to determine the fate of the two individuals.

Beginning today, the Graphic will publish stories on the various races and our sincere hope is that voters will peruse them carefully as preparation for the vote in May. It's only through participation that democracy can survive.


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