Locals have voting on their minds

Mika and Jesse Long of Medford cast their election ballots several days ago, placing them among the 882,718 Oregonians who had already cast their ballots by the close of business Friday — about 180,000 more than at the same point in 2014.

With vote totals nearing record levels for a midterm election all across the nation, people in Medford were willing to discuss their views on voting Saturday.

As the Longs played Pokemon Go on their smartphones at Alba Park, Jesse Long said he’s voted in every election since he was 18 years old.

“Every election should be important,” Long said.

As she stood beside their 14-month-old in a stroller, Mika Long said that women’s rights issues and health care — and “making sure our kid has it” — was one of her main reasons for voting.

Aaron Barvosa and Ellie Webb of Medford said Saturday in Alba Park they hadn’t yet filled out their ballots, though Barvosa said he intends to cast his once he has time to research the issues.

“I don’t want to vote unless I know what I’m voting for,” Barvosa said. “I haven’t exactly had the time quite yet.”

Webb said that although she’s registered to vote, she’s not familiar with the candidates.

“I haven’t seen any advertisements other than, like, picket signs,” Webb said. “I didn’t even know it was the midterm elections, honestly.”

For Aroob Jassar of Medford, the 2018 election has particular meaning because it’ll be her first after becoming a United States citizen last year. She was born in Pakistan.

“I thought it was my duty,” said Jassar, who was interviewed in Fichtner-Mainwaring Park.

As she pushed her 17-month-old daughter, Anastasia, on the swing at Fichtner-Mainwaring, Nadia Andreeva said she has her ballot ready to drop after weeks of research. She’d lived in the Rogue Valley before but just moved back from Arizona.

“We just came back a couple months ago,” Andreeva said. “So I wasn’t really in the loop about the candidates. So I had to do all the research from scratch.”

Andreeva said she was surprised to see so many constitutional amendments on the ballot.

“I just think it’s such an extreme measure, and you never know the fallout or the consequences,” Andreeva said. “I just think there are other ways of getting legislation passed without amending the constitution.”

Brothers Tyler and Shayne Flock said they have already voted, but their wives hadn’t.

“I’m going to do it tonight,” said Meagan Flock, Tyler’s wife. “It’ll get done before it’s due.”

Members of the Flock family at Fichtner-Mainwaring said they’re focused on issues surrounding education. Tyler and Shayne are teachers, as is Shayne’s wife, Vanessa. Meagan is studying to become one.

The family said they draw on Tyler’s research in making their decisions.

“Tyler’s definitely the investigator,” Meagan said, adding that he’s focused on “what will help us, and what will help educators.”

Ballots for Tuesday’s election must be turned in by 8 p.m. Nov. 6.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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