It's time for this avid Measure 49 supporter to go out on a limb and make a prediction about how Oregonians will vote next Tuesday.
I say it'll be 63% "Yes." I picked that percentage partly because it is higher than the 61% that favored Measure 37 in 2004.
I believe that Oregon voters have had their eyes opened about what Measure 37 has brought the state: unfairness, divisiveness, asphalted-over farm and forestland.
This is going to produce an electoral turn-around. We're not going to see the same sort of urban-rural split as in 2004. I'm predicting that a majority of Oregon counties are going to say "Yes" to Measure 49.
Consider our Republican leaning rural Marion County neighborhood. A nearby Measure 37 subdivision on groundwater limited farmland that threatens area wells and springs has created an overwhelming swell of support for Measure 49.
My wife and I haven't heard of anybody who is opposed to Measure 49. That's amazing, really. Even die-hard conservatives recognize that one person's property rights end when they interfere with someone else's. Like, the right to not have your well go dry.
So the way I see it, each of the 7,500 Measure 37 claims around the state has generated a lot of "Yes" votes for Measure 49.
That's certainly true for our neighborhood, where hundreds of people are for this Measure 37 fix and just about the only people against it are the (absentee) owners of the subdivision property.
The News-Review had this to say:
We have a beautiful state with public ocean beaches and plentiful resources from our farms and forests. Many here in Douglas County continue to earn their livelihood farming, ranching and logging.
So do many others around the state. Under the provisions of Measure 37, these folks could find themselves surrounded by large housing subdivisions teeming with people who decide they don't like hearing chain saws at 4 a.m. or having crop dusters drop chemicals close to their backyards.
That's why Measure 49 modifies Measure 37 to more closely align it with what voters said they wanted when it became law in 2004.
This helps explain why I'm not worried about the greater voter turnout so far in rural counties. I don't think this will produce much, if any, of a rural tilt against Measure 49.
As regards the low statewide voter turnout, this shouldn't work against Measure 49 either. At the risk of sounding elitist, I'd just as soon not have uninterested voters cast an uninformed ballot.
Measures 49 and 50 both require some study to fully understand, though the ballot titles alone should be sufficient to stimulate an enthusiastic "Yes" vote.
Lastly, even if rural voters are less likely to favor Measure 49, we have to remember that a few large counties dominate the election results. I perused the Election Division's daily and cumulative voting totals by county (which are current up to yesterday).
While the tri-county area (Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas) lags behind the statewide 32% turnout as of November 1, here's the thing:
Eight of Oregon's 36 counties account for 68% of the votes that have been cast. So far, there are 426,201 votes from Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Benton, Lane, Jackson, and Deschutes counties, out of a total of 628,350.
So even though it's great that Wheeler county has a 46% turnout to date, and Harney county 44%, those 2,200 ballots are just a blip on the statewide voting radar screen.
All that said, I could be wrong. We'll know November 7.
If you haven't voted yet, take five minutes and do it! Now. There's still time to mail your ballot tomorrow and have it arrive in time to be counted on Tuesday. It just costs the price of a first class stamp.
Democracy is a bargain.