Governor candidates miss votes

PORTLAND — All of Oregon's candidates for governor except one have skipped votes over the year, according to a newspaper investigation.

The Oregonian checked voting records after Republican Chris Dudley, a former Portland Trail Blazer who's running for Oregon governor, recently apologized for having a horrible record of voting in elections.

The newspaper found that former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who is opposing Democratic ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber in the Democratic primary, has not missed an election going back to 1994.

Bradbury said Tuesday that he was disappointed that Kitzhaber had skipped elections, since it is "damned easy to participate" because the state has had all mail balloting since 2000.

Kitzhaber missed five of the last 13 elections in Multnomah and Washington counties. Officials in Marion County, where Kitzhaber was registered from 1995 to 2003 while he served as governor, said they could not immediately verify the accuracy of those records.

His campaign released a statement saying, "Even though I am obviously quite civically involved, like many Oregonians I have missed the occasional election. I'm not going to give any excuse, it's important to vote."

The newspaper found that Republican contender Allen Alley missed 22 of 42 elections stretching back to 1994, according to the Clackamas County clerk. Like Kitzhaber, he missed five of the most recent 13.

Alley, a high-tech businessman, was also apologetic, saying: "I wish I did have a perfect voting record, and I don't."

Dudley, meanwhile, missed seven of the last 13 elections, according to voter records.

John Lim, a former state legislator from Gresham who is also running for governor, missed just two elections since 1994, the best record for the Republicans.

"I think it should be an issue," Lim said. "We need to send the message that everybody should vote."

Bill Sizemore, the tax activist who is also a GOP candidate for governor, missed 14 out of 42 elections since 1994, according to Clackamas County elections officials.

Jim Moore, a political science professor at Pacific University in Forest Grove, said the spotty voting records of some candidates will only be an issue if their rivals decide to make it one. In California, former eBay President Meg Whitman has been hammered by opponents in the race for governor because she did not register to vote for several years.

Moore added that the failure of some candidates to participate in elections "is troubling because voting in an election is the lowest threshold of political action."

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