Ballots for the 2018 General Election are now in the mail, and here are answers to 12 of the most frequently asked questions from Oregonians about the election. But first . . . a voter pro tip.
Voter Pro Tip: Do you find campaign calls, mailers, and door knockers annoying? If so, make sure every registered voter in your household votes AND turns in their ballot as soon as possible. Oregon law allows campaigns to obtain updated lists of everyone who has voted. Campaigns usually stop contacting you after everyone in your household has turned in their ballot, so vote early.
If you believe you are registered to vote but have not received your ballot by October 26, call your local elections office.
You can track your ballot at oregonvotes.gov/myvote.
Ballots are due not later than November 6 by 8 pm. Postmarks do not count.
Ballots can be returned by mail (and you only need to use one stamp), at a drop box, or to your county elections office. Find drop box locations at oregonvotes.gov/dropbox.
Your vote matters, and only a few votes can change election outcomes. In the primary election earlier this year, one contest was decided by only two votes. Another contest tied and was decided by a dice roll.
You can find information about candidates and measures in the official Voter’s Pamphlet, which you should have already received in the mail. You can also go online to access an audio version, an English version, or a Spanish version.
If you changed your registration after September 1, you will likely receive two different ballot mailings. That is okay! It takes days to print and prepare over 2.7 million ballots, and your change may have come in after the process started. Return the second ballot which will be for your updated registration. Don’t worry, we know who was sent more than one ballot, and we’ll make sure only one is counted. If you return them both, we will only count the one for your current registration.
You can now register to vote when you are 16 or 17 years of age, but you will not be able to vote until you are 18.
The election process is open to the public. Anyone can come into their county elections office and observe the process of testing the equipment, verifying signatures, opening the ballot envelopes, counting the ballots, and witnessing a recount, if there is one. Contact your county elections office for details.
A security feature of vote by mail is that we compare the signature on every ballot envelope to the signature in the voter registration file. If signatures match, the ballot is counted. If the signatures doesn’t match, the ballot will not be counted and the voter will be notified with instructions how to make the ballot count.
Election integrity is very important. Under my administration, the Elections Division has worked diligently to ensure that every Oregonian who is eligible to vote is able to vote—but no one else. Illegal voting is extremely rare in our state, and when we do find it, we will prosecute. In September 2017, we referred 54 cases of apparent illegal voting (along with supporting evidence) to the Attorney General for criminal prosecution. We will do all we can to protect the integrity of this election as well.
Oregon has one of the most secure election systems in the country. You can’t hack paper, and we have implemented important security improvements to protect this election.
I want to reiterate the importance of voting in every election. Thank you in advance for fulfilling this important civic duty.