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Some Things You Might Not Have Known About Voting in Oregon

Did you know that 16 and 17 year olds can register to vote?

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You're registered to vote.

You know something about the candidates.


But with ballots for the 2018 General Election now delivered to most voters in Oregon, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson has answers to some of the 12 most frequently asked questions about the election.



Did you know, for example, that 16 and 17 year olds can register to vote?

Or that you can go and watch the ballots being counted at your local elections office?

Read on to find out more lesser-known info about voting in Oregon.



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But first, Richardson offers this 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,” Richardson wrote in a newsletter Oct. 22.


Where’s my ballot?
If you're registered to vote but haven't gotten your ballot by Oct. 26, call your local elections office. In Deschutes County, you can reach the county clerk at 541-388-6549.

Can I track my ballot?
Yep, at oregonvotes.gov/myvote.

When is my ballot due?
Ballots are due not later than November 6 by 8 pm. Postmarks don't count! If you're mailing your ballot, the Deschutes County Clerk recommends sending it by Oct. 30.

How do I return my completed ballot?
Return it 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.

Does my vote really count?
Your vote matters, and only a few votes can change election outcomes. In the primary election earlier this year, the election for the Republican candidate in the House District 54 contest was decided by only two votes. Another contest tied and was decided by a dice roll.

What if I change my registration?
If you changed your registration after Sept. 1, you'll likely receive two different ballot mailings. Return the second ballot, which will be for your updated registration. Only one is counted. If you return them both, they'll only count the one for your current registration.

What age can I register to vote?
You can now register to vote at age 16 or 17, but you won't be able to vote until  18.

Can I see the election process in person?
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.

How does the state know the ballots are legit?
A security feature of vote by mail involves comparing the signature on every ballot envelope to the signature in the voter registration file. If signatures match, the ballot is counted. If the signatures don't match, the ballot won't be counted and the voter will be notified with instructions how to make the ballot count.

Do dead people really vote?
Illegal voting is extremely rare in Oregon, according to the Secretary of State. Oregon has one of the most secure election systems in the country, because, "you can’t hack paper." Richardson says when they do find it, they prosecute. In September 2017, the Secretary of State's office referred 54 cases of apparent illegal voting (along with supporting evidence) to the Attorney General for prosecution. 

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