This forum examined, in one hour, the story arc of voting behaviors, considered recent social movements and an increasingly polarized electorate, as we ramp up for a historic election to be held during a pandemic.  Current demographics, voting patterns, youth activism and how we vote in Oregon were featured.  This timely Forum is a must see to inspire community dialogue and voter turnout for election 2020.


Dr. Christopher Stout:  Associate Professor at Oregon State University.  His research agenda crosses the fields of race and ethnicity, campaign behavior, political behavior, representation, and public opinion.  He is the author of the forthcoming book “The Case for Identity Politics: Polarization, Demographic Change, and Racial Appeals

Nancy Blankenship:  Deschutes County Clerk since 2003, where she is responsible for election administration, recording property transactions, issuing marriage licenses, archiving and records storage, Board of Property Tax Appeals, processing passports, and more.  She has lived in Central Oregon most of her life, participates in many associations and is fully invested in the community.

Mylea Parker:  a black woman born and raised in Bend, she is an avid activist and current Director of Public Relations for Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly (COBLA). She believes the Black, Indigenous, BIPOC community and the young voter, hold the power in voting this year and all must actively participate to access the democracy we deserve.


  • Jamie McLeod Skinner: with an illustrious background of community service, she has a lifelong commitment to building healthy, equitable, and resilient communities. An attorney, regional planner and small business owner, she serves as Chair of the Jefferson County Education Service District Board and Member of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Jamie has managed repairs of schools in war-torn countries, helped refugees and immigrants become voters, facilitated organizational change, mediated community disputes, mentored diverse leaders, managed a small city (the fire ravaged Talent), and served as an elected city councilor.

Dr. Stout covered social movements and protests from the Tea Party to the Women’s March to the BLM.  He noted that Oregon has become a center, nationally, of protests, and that protests across the country have grown in number and in participation.  Oregon, along with increased population and increased social movement awareness may have a voting increase and result in a to change occur.

People interested in the inner workings of the Deschutes County Clerk’s office, how our vote is handled at the local level, a brief history of the Oregon Motor Voter, and how the security of your vote is handled should look at the full in-depth interview with the Clerk.

Mylea Parker, our youth activist stated after the forum: “I was grateful to be a part of a forum surrounding such an important and upcoming topic. I do hope that the insights given from all three panelists will resonate. I would like to remind the youth and BIPOC voters to realize your personal power impacts what you obtain. Starting small, with educated votes of your city officials is where the marathon begins. Always inform yourself on a candidate’s platform using online resources, remembering social media is a great tool to educate yourself and others. And continue to have constructive conversation with your peers. This is our time to be heard, Vote and do not let this pass!”

Much appreciation is due to the program committee team of Colette Blum-Meister, Janet Gregor, Bill Carwile, and our moderator, Jamie McLeod-Skinner for making this another successful conversation starter for City Club of Central Oregon.