SALEM, Ore. - As thousands of Oregonians begin mailing in their election ballots, the Oregon Secretary of State's Office is out to do some myth-busting.
Are Oregon ballots leaving out the certain presidential candidates? Do our vote-by-mail ballots require one stamp or two stamps to send? Nope, elections officials said Monday, offering these details:
MYTH #1 – Presidential Ballots
Last Friday, a doctored photo circulated on Twitter showing an Oregon ballot with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listed twice, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump missing. This was a hoax, and the original Twitter prankster has since deleted the original tweet.
You can read KGW’s story about it on their website.
MYTH #2 – Two Stamps
Another social media post circulating this weekend advises voters that due to the size of this year’s ballot, voters need two postage stamps to mail in their ballot. While this may be true in some states, you only need one first-class, or forever, stamp to mail in your ballot in Oregon.
Don’t want to bother with a stamp? Stamps are not required for ballots dropped off in official ballot drop boxes. Drop boxes can be located at OregonVotes.gov/dropbox.
Have more election-related questions? Check the state's recently updated Election FAQ.
Deschutes County election officials said just under 5 percent of ballots had been returned by late Monday. Crook County reported just over 8 percent of ballots returned; Jefferson County figures were not immediately available.
Do you fill out your ballot right away and mail it in -- wait until just before the deadline, to see what happens, or somewhere in the middle? Do weigh in on our new KTVZ.COM Poll, halfway down the right side of our home page.
Oregon voters had returned 11,574 ballots as of Monday, representing 0.5 percent of all eligible voters, the Oregon Elections Division announced.
A total of 2.57 million Oregon voters are eligible to vote in this November’s general election.
About 46,000 of those voters either registered or reactivated their voter status after Oct. 12.
Although the voter registration deadline passed on Oct. 18, those who wish to change their “inactive” status to “active” can do so until 8 p.m. Election Day by visiting OregonVotes.gov. Voters updating their registration close to Election Day should visit their local county clerk’s office to ensure they get a ballot before Nov. 8.
Voters’ registration can become inactive if their ballot was undeliverable, they were incarcerated, had a challenged ballot, or had no activity for five years. Voters can check and update their registration information at OregonVotes.gov.
Registered voters who have not received their ballots by Tuesday should contact their county elections offices as soon as possible.
“I encourage all Oregon voters to make a plan to ensure their ballots are counted,” said Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, who oversees the Elections Division. “To mail your ballot, be sure to put one first-class or Forever stamp on the envelope and put it in the mailbox this week. You can also drop off your ballot in any official ballot drop box until 8 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 8.”
You can find the nearest drop box to you at OregonVotes.gov/dropbox.
So you’ve carefully read your Voters’ Pamphlet, discussed the issues with your friends and family, and are ready to fill out your ballot.
Ballots have now been mailed, and your main focus, rightfully, may be what choice to make on each race. But there is another important step that requires your diligence: Your signature.
Your signature is important to Oregon’s voting process in two ways: For elections officials to verify you are who you say you are and for you to attest that the ballot you are casting is legal.
First, let’s talk about ballot security.
The signature you write on your ballot will be matched with the signature on your registration card or on file with the DMV to verify you are who you say you are. The county employees who do this are trained by forensics experts.
If the signatures don’t match, the ballot is set aside, and the voter is contacted about the issue. The voter will have a chance to prove that the signature is indeed theirs, but if they don’t respond to the letter, the ballot will not be counted.
There are a few things you can do to ensure your ballot is processed smoothly.
- If your signature has changed, update your voter registration card and mail it to your local elections office.
- Sign your ballot envelope on a hard surface.
- Sign your ballot the same way your voter registration was signed. If you registered online, your signature should match the one on your Oregon driver license, permit, or ID card.
- Don’t let anyone sign your ballot for you, and don’t sign anyone else’s ballot, even if you have guardianship or power of attorney. Signing another person’s ballot envelope is a Class C felony.
- If you have a disability that keeps you from producing an identical signature each time, you can request special accommodations for a signature stamp or mark. Just call your county elections office to request a signature attestation packet.
Second, your signature is also used as your affirmation that your ballot is legal.
Your signature affirms that:
- You are a U.S. citizen
- You are the person to whom this ballot was issued
- You are legally qualified to vote this ballot
- This is the only ballot you have voted this election
Ensuring that your signature matches your registration signature will go a long way in making sure your ballot will be counted without delay. Please make sure that this crucial step in verifying your ballot is carefully done.