What is Vote-by-Mail?

Vote-by-Mail is a method of conducting elections. 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 clerk to be counted.

When are the ballots mailed to the voters?

In Oregon, ballots can legally be mailed any time between the 20th and 14th days before the election. For state elections the window is narrowed to the 20th to 18th days in order to have more consistency as to when voters will receive their ballots.

Who will get ballots?

Only voters who are registered as a Democrat or Republican will receive a ballot that contains the office of U.S. President. Other registered voters will receive a ballot only if there is a local measure on the ballot that they are eligible to vote on.

As a voter, what do I have to do?

Your ballot packet will automatically be mailed to you. Inside the packet you will find the ballot, a secrecy envelope and a return envelope. Once you vote the ballot, place it in the secrecy envelope and seal it in the pre-addressed return envelope. Be sure you sign the return envelope on the appropriate line. After that just return the ballot either by mail or at a designated drop site.

What if I make a mistake?

If you make a mistake you may call your county elections office and request a replacement ballot. One will be mailed to you as long as you request it by March 7. After that you may pick it up in person at the elections office. If your ballot is received by the elections office before you realize you made a mistake, you will not be able to get a replacement ballot because you have already cast a ballot in the election.

What if my ballot doesn't come?

If you are registered to vote and do not receive a ballot, call your county elections 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 were registered to vote by February 20 but now have a different address, you must go to the county elections office. They will update your voter registration and issue you a ballot that must be voted at the elections office.

Do I have to mail my ballot back?

You have the choice of mailing your ballot or returning it to any designated drop site in the state. The times and locations of drop sites will be publicized for each election.

How much postage is required to mail the ballot back?

Your voted ballot can be returned using a single 32¢ stamp.

When must the voted ballot be returned?

The voted ballot must be received in any county elections office or designated drop site by 8:00 p.m. on election night. Postmarks do not count!

What if I forget to sign the return envelope?

Generally, your elections office will either return it to you for signing or they will contact you, if possible, to come to the elections office to sign it. If the return envelope does not get signed before 8:00 p.m. on March 12, the ballot will not be counted.

Can the public watch the election process?

All steps of the process are open to observation by the public. Contact your county elections official to make arrangements.

When will election results be known?

Ballot counting will not begin until election day. The results that are released at 8:00 p.m. election night will include the majority of all the ballots cast. Results will continue to be updated through election night until all ballots have been counted.

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March 12, 1996 Presidential Primary Election Main Page
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Elections Division, Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722