In 1998 Oregon voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure
directing elections be conducted by mail, commonly called
vote by mail. This replaces traditional polling place elections.
WHAT IS VOTE BY MAIL?
Vote by mail is a method of distributing ballots for an election.
Instead of using traditional polling places where voters go
to cast ballots on election day, a ballot is automatically
mailed to each registered voter. The ballot is then voted
and returned to the county election office to be counted.
Every county provides privacy booths where you can mark your
ballot. Usually, you can drop off your completed ballot at
the same location. Call your county election office if you
need to locate and use a privacy booth.
AS A VOTER, WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
Your ballot packet will automatically be mailed to you
18 to 14 days prior to the election. Each packet contains
a secrecy envelope, ballot return envelope and ballot. Once
you vote the ballot, place it in the secrecy envelope and
seal it in the pre-addressed return envelope. Be sure to sign
the return envelope on the appropriate line after verifying
that the return envelope has your name and current residential
HOW DO I GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CANDIDATES AND ISSUES?
You will receive a voters' pamphlet from the Secretary of
State for all statewide elections. Many counties also produce
a local voters' pamphlet which is either included with the
state pamphlet or mailed separately. In special elections,
the county will sometimes include the pamphlet with the ballot.
WHEN MUST THE VOTED BALLOT BE RETURNED?
The voted ballot must be received in any county election office
or designated drop site by 8:00 p.m. on election night. Postmarks
do not count. All county election offices are considered poll
locations on election day and are open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
I WILL BE OUT OF TOWN WHEN BALLOTS ARE MAILED. HOW DO
I GET A BALLOT?
Absentee ballots are available 45 days before the election.
You may request an early absentee ballot from your county
election official either in person, by mail, or by fax. You
will need to include your name, residence address and, if
different, your mailing address.
WHAT IF MY BALLOT DOESN'T COME?
If you have not received your ballot within a week after they
are mailed, call your county election office. They will check
that your voter registration is current. If it is, they will
mail you a replacement ballot.
WHAT IF I HAVE MOVED AND HAVE NOT UPDATED MY REGISTRATION?
If you are registered to vote by the 21st day before the election
but now have a different address and:
- You have moved within the same county, contact the county
election office. They will instruct you on the process to
follow to qualify for a replacement ballot.
- You have moved to a different county, go to the election
office in your new county.
WHAT IF I MAKE A MISTAKE?
If you make a mistake, you may call your county election office
and request a replacement ballot. One will be mailed to you
provided the request is received with sufficient time for
mailing. Otherwise, you may pick up a replacement ballot in
person at your county election office.
CAN I CHANGE MY MIND AFTER I'VE RETURNED THE BALLOT?
Your ballot has been cast as soon as you deposit it in the
mailbox or at a drop site. After that, you cannot receive
a new ballot to re-vote.
DO I HAVE TO RETURN MY BALLOT BY MAIL?
You have the choice of mailing your ballot or returning it
to any county election office or any designated drop site
in the state. The times and locations of drop sites are published
by and available from your county election official.
HOW MUCH POSTAGE IS REQUIRED TO MAIL THE BALLOT BACK?
Your voted ballot can be returned without extra postage. In
those instances where additional postage is necessary, it
will be clearly indicated on the ballot materials.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BALLOT IS RECEIVED?
You can always call your county election office and ask if
they received your ballot. A record is kept showing each voter
whose ballot has been returned.
CAN ANYONE FIND OUT HOW I'VE VOTED ONCE I MAIL MY BALLOT?
No. All ballots are separated from the return envelope before
the ballots are inspected. This process ensures confidentiality.
WILL MY VOTE STILL COUNT IF I FORGET TO PUT MY BALLOT
INTO THE SECRECY ENVELOPE?
Yes, the ballot will still be counted.
WHEN ARE BALLOTS COUNTED?
All ballots are counted on election day. No results can be
announced until 8:00 p.m. on election night. No more than
five days before election day, county election officials begin
preparing the ballots for counting by opening the return identification
envelope and the secrecy envelope and securing the ballots
until election day.
WHEN WILL ELECTION RESULTS BE KNOWN?
Ballot counting cannot begin until election day. Initial results
are released at 8:00 p.m. election night and will continue
to be updated through election night until all ballots have
WHAT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Call your county election official. Each office will be more
than happy to assist you.
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