The coronavirus pandemic caught most of the state of Oregon off-guard this month, as government leaders, business owners, parents and other citizens struggle to adjust to a very different way of life, in which Oregonians are expected to remain home unless absolutely necessary, and avoid close proximity with virtually every other human.
Perhaps the one aspect of Oregon life that was already well-positioned for a post-COVID world is our vote-by-mail system. And Secretary of State Bev Clarno has confirmed the May primary election will go forward as planned.
The certified list of 371 candidates that filed to run for office were sent to the county last week so that they can begin laying out the ballots to be sent to the printer. The voters’ pamphlet is also being put together and proofread so it could be sent to the printer later this month.
Ballots for military and overseas voters will be mailed out not later than April 4, and regular ballots will be mailed out starting April 29.
Because Oregon votes by mail, we do not have to be concerned about social distancing issues at polling places that so many other states are struggling with. However, Clarno said contingency plans are being prepared to deal with any impacts the COVID-19 virus may have on the state’s election processes.
The May 19 election is a primary election. Primaries serve two main purposes. The first is for all voters to be able to cast ballots for candidates for nonpartisan offices like judges and some county and other local offices.
Canby School District voters will also be asked to decide a 20-year, $75 million bond proposal aimed at improving school facilities and addressing deferred maintenance projects, as well as expanding opportunities for hands-on learning and upgrading school safety and security.
The second purpose of a primary is for the voters registered with a major political party to select their nominees for partisan office like president, Oregon secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general, and legislators at both the state and national level.
Those registered as not affiliated with a political party, or registered with a minor party (Constitution, Independent, Libertarian, Pacific Green, Progressive, Working Families) will receive a ballot that includes only nonpartisan offices.
If you desire to register to vote, update your registration, or change your political party, the deadline is April 28. More information at oregonvotes.gov.
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