The Seaside Branch of American Association of University Women (AAUW) had enlisted the assistance of several local businesses and civic centers over the past month, in order to bring the message of “get registered to vote” to the citizens of our state and region.

We are pleased that Seaside Carousel Mall, Seaside Public Library, Seaside High School, Bob Chisholm Community Center and Clatsop Community College all enthusiastically endorsed this effort by allowing us to set up a table to assist in registration.

We were disappointed, however, that probably the largest retail operator in Seaside, our local Safeway store, not only could not make the decision to have it at the store, but neither did its corporate headquarters or local store manager expeditiously let us know their decision so we might seek a different locale.

As we had pointed out to them in our letter of Aug. 31, this was not intended as a political event, as our organization does not permit an endorsement of any political party. It was intended to educate and provide a service to the residents of our area.

We finally did receive a reply from Safeway’s public affairs director, Dan Floyd, after the state voter registration deadline had passed. Floyd stated that “Safeway prohibits petitioning and other ‘free speech’ activity on our property.”

It is unfortunate that while other North Coast businesses support our efforts, Safeway prefers to judge an act of civic responsibility, registering voters, as too political for their parking lot.

Thank you, citizens of the North Coast of Oregon, for participating in our attempts to get residents registered to vote in the upcoming election. We regret that Safeway chose not to be involved in this community service.

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