PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Election Day is less than one week away and most voters in Oregon and Washington state have yet to return their ballots, with just over 20% of ballots cast in Oregon and 22% in Washington, according to officials.
During the 2018 midterm election, by Halloween, almost 29% of ballots were returned in Multnomah County, compared to about 18% by Halloween 2022.
KOIN 6 News looked at statewide returns so far in Oregon, as well six days before Election Day. So far, just over 21% of ballots have been returned in 2022, compared to 28.6% in 2018 during the last midterm election.
This comes as Oregon voters, starting in 2022, can mail their ballot and have their votes count as long as it is postmarked by Election Day on Nov. 8.
Additionally, Multnomah County Elections Director Tim Scott told KOIN 6 News other changes voters can expect in 2022.
“The ballot is physically longer, it’s 17 inches this year as opposed to 14 inches which is our standard. And the reason it’s longer is because there’s a lot more on it. We’ve got seven charter amendments for the county charter that people are weighing, people in the city of Portland have a measure that they need to put some thought into,” Scott said.
If there’s a flood of ballots coming in on Election Day, and the days following in the mail, this increases the likelihood of a delay in announcing results in some close races by a day or more.
Scott explained that the Multnomah County Elections office has “an overnight shift that we’ll work throughout the night to keep the process going.”