City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly Plans to Send City Employees Door to Door to Encourage Portlanders to Vote
By: Rachel Monahan
Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly wants more Portlanders to vote. So she's sending out city workers on the public dime to remind them.
On Oct. 23, Eudaly unveiled her plan for the last Friday before Election Day. She'll send city workers on a door-to-door canvassing event Nov. 2 to encourage registered voters who have not turned in ballots in recent elections to cast one this year.
City employees won't be required to participate. But if they choose to, they will work on city time during the "Get Out the Vote" canvass. It's still unclear how many city workers will volunteer, and how much city money will be devoted to the effort as a result.
Eudaly's office will also spend another $1,000 on 5,000 fliers to hang on doors. The door hangers will include locations of official ballot drop boxes and where to get more information on candidates and ballot measures.
"We know our work is far from done—we still have precincts in Portland with less than 50 percent voter participation," Eudaly wrote in an email to city workers soliciting volunteers. "To protect the integrity of our democracy, we must recognize this plain fact and commit ourselves to action."
While Eudaly's move appears to be legal, the notion of paying city employees to get out the vote is raising eyebrows, particularly since Eudaly has a stake in two of the races on this November's ballot. She was an early champion of Measure 26-201, a proposed tax on businesses to fund clean energy projects. (Her office helped craft the measure.) She also endorsed Jo Ann Hardesty, a candidate for an empty seat on the Portland City Council, who faces Loretta Smith in a runoff.
"At face value, it looks corrupt," says Republican political consultant Jonathan Lockwood, who worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend). Lockwood notes that Democrats control nearly all major offices at the state level and they use their power to maintain control.
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