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When would this appear on the ballot?

More than enough signatures needed to qualify were delivered to the County Elections Office on February 20th. Once the signatures are officially verified, the three measures will appear on the May 2024 ballot.

What do current Jackson County commissioners do?

They approve the county budget and the sheriff’s budget. They attend other board and commission meetings, serve the ceremonial functions of the County, and set policy that applies to Jackson County.  The day-to-day operations and hands-on management of the County is controlled by the County Administrator. A commission with five members would be far more effective than three in overseeing the complex operations and expenditures of the county, and would make commissioners more accessible to residents.

What should the Jackson County commissioners do?

In the past, Jackson County commissioners were responsible for overseeing the county’s management and administration, but in 1978, Jackson County Commissioners hired a County Administrator and passed those responsibilities to the County Administrator, making their jobs significantly easier, thus no longer justifying being the highest paid county commissioners in Oregon. Their main purpose is to represent the citizens of Jackson County.

What limits the effectiveness of the Board of Commissioners?

Current commissioners will have served 28 years between them with no term limits. Under the current partisan system, they are not accountable to a majority of Jackson County voters, and they are supported by corporate interests through political action committees (PACs). As a result, they have little incentive to work for many of the people of Jackson County, who they are elected to represent.

Why is this a problem?

Residents of Jackson County who cannot vote in our partisan primary election (non-affiliated voters) have no representation by elected officials. Without accountability to the citizenry, commissioners have missed opportunities that would benefit Jackson County. With the security and longevity of the current office holders, it has become easy for them to be reluctant to take on challenges that could make a meaningful difference for our County.

Why do we need more county commissioners?

The population of Jackson County has grown significantly enough to warrant expanding the Board to five commissioners. We have had three since 1853! With just three members, two commissioners are considered a quorum, meaning that two people can set policy for the whole county of nearly a quarter million residents! Additionally, most city councils, school, and corporate boards have five or seven members. Five commissioners would provide more representation for our growing county and give constituents more commissioners to approach on county-related matters.

What does it take for this campaign to be successful?

Jackson County for All circulators collected far more than the needed 10,500 signatures of Jackson County active registered voters for each of the three measures. The State of Oregon allows TWO years to collect signatures for citizens’ initiatives. Jackson County tightened that law to require signatures be turned in within ONE year. Ballot measures can be put on the ballot directly by the commissioners. Otherwise, the alternative was to pursue this as a petition initiative and deliver the signatures within the given time period. More than enough signatures were delivered to the County Elections Office to be verified for the May ballot.

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