Election ballots began showing up in mailboxes on Friday, and in all Central Oregon counties, voter registration is up from four years ago.
"Since the end of August, there has been a 7 percent increase in voter registration, so we're up to 98,800 voters," Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship said Friday at her busy elections office.
She says it's a surge that happens every four years: The excitement of choosing a new president gets ballots in the hands of people who may normally not pay much attention.
But there's something about the Obama/Romney presidential race, a non-tribal casino, or marijuana legalization in Oregon that has more people ready to cast their ballot.
Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties report increases in the number of registered voters compared to four years ago.
In Deschutes County, there are 6,000 more registered than 2008. In Crook County, the clerk reports 157 more registered voters, and in Jefferson County, there are 40 more voters than four years ago.
And now clerks wait for ballots to be returned.
"It's really interesting -- with this type of election, with a lot of candidates, you'll see a surge at the beginning, with those that know how they want to vote. Then we see 30 percent the last two days of the election," Blankenship said.
With so much hype on the presidential choice, it's easy to overlook the many names running for city council, commissioners and local measures like increasing Bend property taxes for a parks improvement bond.
But in truth, the decisions a council or commission makes have much more of an immediate effect on day-to-day life and business.
For example, issues up for debate include the Bend noise ordinance, false alarm fines and registration for businesses, and the controversial water pipe project.
"Some of them (voters) are only following up on the presidential election," Blankenship said. "And you're correct, those local elections have a huge impact on your daily life and are a very important element of your ballot to be voted on. And we have quite a few state measures that will have significant impact."
A few reminders to make sure your ballot is counted: Remember to sign the envelope. If your signature has changed, for example from a health condition, go to the clerk's office and sign a new registration card. And if you don't see your ballot by Wednesday, visit the clerk's office.
Be sure to follow the latest local and national election news on KTVZ.COM's Elections 2012 page.