Undervote a useful tool in uncontested races

In the October 25, 2016, issue of the Register-Guard, retired building contractor David Monk and two-term Eugene city councilor Bonny Bettman McCornack write in a guest viewpoint:

Eugene’s trajectory is dictated by hundreds of seemingly small human decisions that snowball into an avalanche of controversy and distrust. Those decisions are made by the mayor and city councilors, who frequently run unopposed.

We all should vote. Even though “protest voting” is trending in this presidential election, now is no time to abstain—but in local elections, protest votes are an important way for voters to be heard. And often-overlooked “undervotes” are a potent protest.

Protest votes are typically write-ins, or voting for a candidate not sanctioned by the two-party system—sometimes creating a spoiler. A protest vote can be a statement repudiating the two-party system, or a plea for a better system.

Another powerful protest is to withhold your vote in an unopposed race, such as a City Council seat or a mayoral race. Your non-vote is counted as an undervote and reported just like regular votes and write-ins. …

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