Vote-By-Mail Means Voting from Your Kitchen Table


Stay home, save lives, and stay engaged. Oregon’s Vote-By-Mail system ensures safe and efficient elections amid COVID-19 outbreak

SALEM — Amidst the anxiety and confusion of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one certainty: Oregon’s vote-by-mail system will ensure a safe, effective, and efficient 2020 election.

Oregon was the first state to vote entirely by mail. First implemented statewide in 1993, this system allows citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote from the comfort and safety of home. Oregon is one of five states that currently conduct all elections by mail; others include Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, and Utah. So this election cycle, get out vote by curling up on the couch with a cup of your favorite hot beverage and your voter’s pamphlet.

“Vote-by-mail is proven as the most reliable and secure way for Americans to exercise their right to vote,” Governor Kate Brown wrote in a recent article for Newsweek. “We’ve had it in Oregon for decades, and we now have one of the highest voter participation rates in the country.”

Voting by mail ensures that Oregonians do not have to worry about social distancing at polling places, something that many other states are struggling with in the wake of COVID-19.

Inspired by the actions of his home state, Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden also introduced the Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 bills in Congress. If passed, the bill would require all states to offer an option for voters to mail in or drop-off a hand-marked, paper ballot when 25 percent of states declare a state of emergency related to COVID-19, another infectious disease, or natural disaster.

Oregonians are encouraged to remain engaged in the civic process and vote. This is the first year paid return postage is included – no stamps needed.

Since the deadline to mail in your ballot has passed, make sure to drop it off by Tuesday, May 19th at 8pm at a drop box near you (find one using the Oregon Drop Box Locator).

About Author

Lisa Appel is the Conservation Outcomes Specialist and Jillian McCarthy is the Partnerships Coordinator at the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

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