Who to vote for in the most important election of your lifetime, and why

It’s a presidential election year and a global pandemic. What could go wrong? 

Forget we asked. Here are some tips for voting in 2020. 

Vote early, and drop off your ballot in person to one of the many Lane County ballot boxes if you can. Track your ballot by going to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website — or just Google words like “track my ballot” in Oregon, and it will take you there. 

Vote your whole ballot. A lot (the world) depends on this election, and that’s not just the race for the White House. Vote in state and local races, too. One of the many things COVID-19 has reminded us is that it matters who is governing on all levels.

Vote thoughtfully. Read your Voters’ Pamphlet, ponder your vote and why. We interviewed — via Zoom — as many candidates as we could, but we encourage you to make your own choices.

And vote. Please. Just vote. — EW editorial staff


Joe Biden



Donald Trump / Michael Pence, Republican

Joseph Biden / Kamala Harris, Democrat

Jo Jorgensen / Jeremy (Spike) Cohen, Libertarian

Howie Hawkins / Angela Walker, Pacific Green

Dario Hunter / Dawn Neptune Adams, Progressive

Joe Biden. No shit, Sherlock. 

(Donald Trump is horrible. The third party candidates sadly lack traction, and Kanye West can’t put together a campaign video to save his life.) 

Read about Jorgensen’s campaign here, and Hawkins’ here



Jo Rae Perkins, Republican

Jeff Merkley, Democrat, Independent, Working Families

Ibrahim Taher, Pacific Green, Progressive

Gary Dye, Libertarian

We are so lucky to have Jeff Merkley representing us in the U.S. Senate. He has no real opposition (unless you count Jo Rae Perkins, who is a conspiracy theorist, QAnon follower and perennial bad candidate), and if Joe Biden wins, Oregon’s Merkley will be a big player in the new Washington and, hopefully, the Democratic majority Senate.

U.S. Representative, 4th District

Daniel Hoffay, Pacific Green

Peter DeFazio, Democrat, Independent, Working Families

Alek Skarlatos, Republican

For 30 years, Peter DeFazio has dedicated his congressional career to Oregon’s 4th district, and he is now the chair of the powerful Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. We need to keep our experienced and spirited congressman in office to help our country navigate the messy aftermath of the Trump era. Plus, his plans for re-envisioning the nation’s infrastructure while mitigating climate change is something we desperately need, and DeFazio’s position gives him the power to do so. His opponent, train hero-turned Dancing with the Stars contestant Alek Skarlatos, dances from the truth and practically refuses to interview with media outlets. He spent his campaign spewing classic Republican fear-mongering narratives and continually aligns himself with Trump. DeFazio is the clear choice in this race. He has the knowledge, the connections and the seniority to lead the House, and Oregon, forward. 


Ellen Rosenblum


Oregon Secretary of State

Shemia Fagan, D, WF

Kim Thatcher, R, I

Oregon State Treasurer

Tobias Read, D

Jeff Gudman, R

Chris Henry, I, Progressive, Pacific Green

Read about the state treasurer race here

Oregon Attorney General

Ellen Rosenblum, D, I, WF

Lars Hedbor, L

Michael Cross, R

Running for her third term, Ellen Rosenblum is a slam dunk for us. Her opponents don’t even have law degrees and recently marched in Portland with anti-Black Lives Matter protesters. With a long record of working for Oregonians, Rosenblum has been especially active with other attorneys general in fighting against Donald Trump. We wonder where she wants to go after this term.


Remember when Republicans walked out of two legislative sessions? One bill that the walkout impacted was a $25 million wildfire risk reduction bill. They walked away with no real consequences, but now you have the opportunity to vote them out of a job.

State Representative 7th District

Cedric Hayden, R 

Jerry Samaniego, D

State Representative 8th District

Timothy Aldal, R

Paul Holvey, D, WF

Martha Sherwood, L

State Representative 11th District

Marty Wilde, D

Katie Boshart Glaser, R

State Representative 12th District

Ruth Linoz, R 

John Lively, D 

State Representative 13th District 

Nancy Nathanson, D 

David J Smith, R 

State Representative 14th District

Julie Fahey, D

Rich Cunningham, R

Statewide Measures

Measure 107

Limits political campaign contributions and expenditures, requires disclosure of political campaign contributions and expenditures and requires political campaign ads to identify who paid for it. Yes.

Measure 108

Increases cigarette and cigar taxes, establishes tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping devices and funds health programs. Yes.

Measure 109

Allows the manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin at supervised licensed facilities; a two-year development period. Yes. 

Measure 110

Provides statewide addiction/recovery services; cannabis taxes partially finance; reclassifies possession/penalties for specified drugs. Yes. 

On the one hand, Oregon ballot measures put decisions in front of the voters. On the other hand, the measures lack a certain amount of nuance on complicated issues. Measure 110 is the measure we struggled with the most, but in the end, treatment over incarceration is the direction Oregon needs to go.



Lane County Board of Commissioners

South Eugene, Position 3 

Joel Iboa

Laurie Trieger

The race to succeed outgoing Commissioner Pete Sorenson is between two progressives who’ve dedicated much of their lives to making a difference in Lane County and Oregon. Joel Iboa has had a big impact in the community through his work combating state-sanctioned racism via Measure 105, which would have repealed Oregon’s sanctuary state law in 2018, as well as leading the charge with the Eugene Human Rights Commission’s 2019 resolution against white supremacy. We see Iboa going far. But in this race, we’re going with Laurie Trieger in November. She has the experience of fighting for paid sick leave and other big legislation at the state level. And we believe her plan to use a public health framework as a lens for decision making is what the Lane County Board of Commissioners needs during the COVID age. 

Read about Iboa here, Trieger here and a recent write-up here

North Eugene Position 4

Pat Farr, unopposed


Lucy Vinis


Eugene Mayor

Lucy Vinis

Isiah Wagoner (write-in campaign)

Isiah Wagoner’s very campaign reminds us of how white Eugene city government is, despite aspirations of diversity. Wagoner told us in an interview this summer that his campaign is about increasing his name recognition for future elections, getting people registered to vote and lobbying for change. Hopefully, as he matures as a candidate, he will find a way to express his opinions in ways that don’t alienate the women of color he says he seeks to praise. We hope Lucy Vinis in a second term embraces the bully pulpit that is the office of the mayor in Eugene. While the position is a tie-breaking vote on the City Council, it’s also one that sets agendas and the person who holds the office can be a powerful voice in this town — something we need as we continue to face homelessness, a COVID economy and our lack of diversity. Black Lives Matter has called attention not only to the problems BIPOC people face in Lane County, but powerful leadership within that community. Vinis and the city need to reach out to them effectively and not just form another committee or do another study. 

Read about Wagoner’s campaign here.


Emily Semple

Eugene City Council

Ward 1

Emily Semple

Eliza Kashinsky

The runoff race for Eugene’s Ward 1 has incumbent Emily Semple facing off with political newcomer Eliza Kashinsky. Though both candidates are passionate about the future of Eugene, we are going with Semple. The city could use Semple’s experience and dedication on council as it (slowly) works toward helping the unhoused, battles a global pandemic and the effects of climate change. Semple is candid and straightforward in her leadership and interactions, so what you see is what you get. And during COVID-19, having a councilor with her feet already underneath her is a good idea. We have seen criticism of her outreach and response to individual constituents, and that’s a conversation to have after she recovers from the concussion she received in a recent traffic accident, limiting her use of screen time. While we admire Kashinsky’s thoughtful ideas on expanding housing, the investigation against her campaign regarding a donation from the National Association of Realtors is troubling. If elected, Semple should use her next term to push forward on building a shelter for the unhoused and continue working on climate action. 

Read about Semple’s campaign for the primary here. Read about Kashinsky’s primary campaign here. Read about their general election campaigns here

Ward 2

Matt Keating, unopposed

Read more about Keating here

Ward 7

Claire Syrett 

J. Hallie Roberts (write in campaign) 

Ward 8

Randy Groves, unopposed

Read more about Groves here

City of Springfield

Springfield City Council 


Johanis Tadeo

Ward 3

Johanis Tadeo

Kori Rodley

Councilor Sheri Moore is retiring after 10 years on the Springfield City Council. The race to succeed Moore is a runoff between Kori Rodley and Johanis Tadeo. Both candidates are great. Rodley, United Way of Lane County’s equity and engagement manager, currently serves on the city’s budget committee. Tadeo is a community organizer with Springfield Alliance for Equity and Respect who’s made his presence known at City Hall. It’s tough to choose between the two candidates, but we’re going with Tadeo, who has a proven track record of creating change — like ending the city’s contract with ICE, getting the city to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples Day and pushing for police accountability. 

Read more about Tadeo and Rodley here

Local Levies

Measure 20-309

Eugene Public Library five year local-option levy. Yes. 

Read more about the levy here

Measure 20-311

Springfield Fire and Life Safety Levy. Yes.

Measure 20-312

Upper Willamette Soil and Water Conservation District, Oregon Permanent Tax Rate Limit. Yes.

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