PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As Oregon continues to recover from a historic rash of wildfires that began on Labor Day, many who have been displaced from their homes may wonder how they can still cast their vote for the general election this November.
Fortunately, there are options for displaced individuals, even those who are currently staying in a different county than the permanent residence listed on their voter registration.
The Secretary of State’s Office, which runs Oregon’s elections division, has issued answers to frequently asked questions regarding individuals displaced by wildfires.
“For any Oregonians displaced from their home and concerned about voting in the General Election this November, rest assured we have a plan and are working closely with local election officials to ensure you can receive your ballot, vote, and make your voices heard,” Secretary of State Bev Clarno said in a statement.
Setting up a temporary mailing address
Oregon votes by mail and ballots will start being mailed out on October 14.
You can add a temporary mailing address by October 13 at Oregonvotes.gov/myvote.
The temporary mailing address must be a place you can receive mail.
You can also pick up your mail–including ballots–at the post office that serves your permanent residence address. That also applies if the mailbox at your residence is damaged.
Experiencing homelessness? You still have the right to vote
Voters must provide a residence on their voter registration form, but this address may be any definable county location you are located in, like a shelter, park or motor home, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.
A mailing address is also required but this can be listed as the office of the county clerk if you live in a place where mail service is unavailable. Pick up the ballot at your county elections office.
If you end up in a different county than where your ballot is supposed to be mailed by the deadline, you can request a provisional ballot at any county elections office and vote in a different county than you are registered in. If you’re not already registered to vote, this process will serve as your voter registration for future elections. You can find the provisional ballot request form on the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.
Changing your address through USPS alone won’t forward ballots.
You don’t need to re-register to vote if you submit a temporary address.
You will still be able to vote on local measures where your permanent residence is, even if you receive the ballot at a temporary address outside the area.
The deadline to register to vote, update residential or mailing address is October 13. Complete online: Oregonvotes.gov/myvote.
Oregon became the first state to conduct a general election totally by mail in January 1996, when 66% of registered voters mailed in their ballots and chose Ron Wyden to replace Bob Packwood in the US Senate.