With 10 days before the polls close — 125,000 of Clackamas County’s 308,000 registered voters have already cast ballots.
That turnout — 40.4% — is more than twice the percentage of those who had returned their ballots at this point in the 2016 election cycle. Four years ago, 52,635 — or 19.6% of registered voters — had turned out by Friday, Oct. 30.
Local elections and postal officials report that ballots have been flooding in, both through the mail and in official elections drop boxes located throughout the state — including two in Canby: one outside the Canby Civic Center and Library, and one at Arneson Gardens behind Fred Meyer.
The high numbers of those visiting the official drop box outside the Clackamas County Elections Office in Oregon City have led the county to temporarily change the traffic patterns in the immediate area to alleviate congestion (an action that has also been taken in previous elections.)
Electronic and stationary signage has been installed in the area, and flagging crews will be positioned at two intersections on Beavercreek Road Nov. 2 and 3 to direct motorists. Barrels and cones will also be in place to help with traffic flow.
“Ensuring that voters can drop off their ballot as safely and efficiently as possible is our goal,” said Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall. “We are committed to a safe and secure election.”
So far, the results have been in line with early predictions that this year’s turnout, nationwide, would be the highest the country has seen in more than a century.
Statewide, the 2016 general election saw a record number of votes cast — 2,051,452 — though the percentage of registered voters who turned out (80.33%) was not the highest ever.
That mark was actually surpassed by the three previous presidential elections: 2012 (82.80%), 2008 (85.67%) and 2004’s near-record turnout of 86.48%.
The highest percentage turnout in Oregon’s history was in 1960, as 779,159 of the state’s 900,627 registered voters (86.51%) visited the (in-person) polls to help spur Sen. John F. Kennedy’s narrow defeat of the incumbent vice president, Richard Nixon.
Whether or not the 2020 election will surpass that mark — as expected — remains to be seen, but with 10 days to go, we’re already almost halfway there.
Voters can track their ballot using the Oregon Secretary of State’s website to ensure it has been received. Anyone who has questions or concerns over their ballot is encouraged to reach out to the Clackamas County Elections Office by calling 503-655-8510 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last day to mail ballots and be certain they will be received on time is Wednesday, Oct. 28. Ballots may be turned into official drop boxes until 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.