Vote by Mail

Vote by Mail

What is Vote By Mail?
In 1998, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure directing all elections be conducted by mail, commonly called Vote By Mail.  Instead of voters going to traditional polling places to cast ballots on election day, a ballot is mailed to each registered voter.  Voters return their ballot to the county elections office and it is counted on Election Day. Vote by mail increases voter participation, removes barriers that can keep people from getting to the polls, allows people more time to study issues and candidates before marking the ballot, and it saves taxpayer dollars.

How do I vote?
You must be registered to vote to receive a ballot.  (Please see voter registration for more information.)  A ballot will automatically be sent 18 to 14 days prior to the election to all registered voters who are eligible to vote in the election.  Once you mark your ballot, just place it in the secrecy envelope, seal it and place it in the return envelope.  Be sure to sign the return envelope after verifying your name and current residence address are correct.  Then place a first-class postage stamp on the return envelope and mail it back.  Or, you may save a stamp and drop off your ballot at the Public Services Building, 820 Exchange St., Astoria, and other designated ballot drop sites.  Remember that all ballots must be received at the elections office by 8 p.m. on election day.  Postmarks do not count.

What if my ballot doesn't come?
If your ballot does not arrive within 5 days after they have been mailed, please call the Clatsop County Elections Office at (503) 325-8511.  After checking your voter registration status, the office will send you a replacement ballot or explain your other options.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot?
If you make a mistake that cannot by corrected, you may call the elections 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.

Will my vote count if I don't vote on all measures and/or candidates?
Yes, the ballot will be counted.

What if I forgot to sign my return envelope mail it in?
You will be sent a notification in the mail to come to our office to sign your ballot. You must sign your ballot no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Can I change my mind after I have returned the ballot?
No.  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.

Will my vote count if I forget to put my ballot into the secrecy envelope?
Yes.  The ballot will still be counted.

Do I have to return my ballot by mail?
No.  You have the choice of mailing your ballot or returning it to any county elections office or any designated drop site.  The locations and schedules of official drop sites in Clatsop County are listed on our website.

How do I know if my ballot was received?
Call the county elections office and ask.  A record is kept showing each voter whose ballot has been returned.

Can someone find out how I've voted?
No.  All ballots are separated from the return envelope before the ballots are inspected.  This process ensures confidentiality.

Can someone find out if I voted?
Yes.  That information is public record.  However, no one can find out how you voted.

When are the ballots counted?
All ballots are counted on election day -- none are counted earlier.  Results may not be announced until 8 o'clock on election night.  The Tuesday before election day, county elections officials may begin preparing the ballots for counting by opening the return identification envelope and the secrecy envelope.  The ballots are secured until election day.

When will election results be known?
Initial results are released at 8 p.m. on election day and are updated until all ballots have been counted.

I have more questions.
Call Clatsop County Elections at (503) 325-8511 and our staff will be happy to assist you.