Your Vote Counts: Ballot Drop-Off Locations Now Open in Deschutes County
One of the silver linings of 2020–an unusual year to say the least!–is the increasingly authentic, personal answer to the courteous question of “how are you?” While our clients always share their hopes and dreams, as well as their concerns and worries with us as they make their plans for buying and selling real estate, their personal sentiments have a heightened poignancy because of how the pandemic, distance learning, uncertainty about the economy, and worries about the upcoming election are affecting all of us right now.
Voting is a vital part of participating in a meaningful way as a citizen of our country, state, county, and neighborhood. When you vote, you’re not only influencing national politics, but also helping your local community define the issues and values important to you and your neighbors. There are many influential positions up for election this year at every level including multiple City Council positions in Bend, Redmond, Sisters and La Pine, as well as representation on the state and county levels.
We are fortunate to have an established system for voting in Oregon and Deschutes County that ensures access to everyone in our community. There are ten official drop-off sites for your ballot in Deschutes County, which has a population of almost 200,000. This compares with densely-populated counties with more than 4 million people and providing only one drop-off ballot box.
Whether you’re a third-generation Oregonian or have recently relocated to this beautiful state, we hope these tips for making sure your vote is counted in Deschutes County is helpful.
Prepare to vote
- If you’re registered to vote in Oregon, you should have received a state-issued, printed Voters’ Pamphlet in the mail recently.
- If you did not receive this pamphlet, you can get a digital PDF of your county’s guide here.
- Take the time to review this pamphlet. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with state and local candidates as well as measures that could affect future legislation in Bend.
- Reviewing the Voters’ Pamphlet with your kids who are too young to vote can be a great way to share the electoral process with them.
- Make a plan to vote, whether that’s by mailing your ballot or dropping it off at an official location.
- Although in the past in-person voting has also been offered in Oregon, it’s limited this year due to COVID-19.
Prepare your ballot
- Ballots were mailed to Oregon voters on Wednesday, October 14, and you should receive your ballot within the next few days.
- Be sure to place your ballot in the security sleeve that is provided and sign your ballot.
- Sign your return identification envelope. Your ballot will be screened to make sure your signature matches your voter registration.
- An un-signed envelope will not be counted.
Mail-in ballot information
- Oregon pioneered vote-by-mail in 1998, and in 2019, was the first state to provide paid postage on ballot return envelopes in an effort to remove barriers for voting.
- Deschutes County recommends mailing your ballot by Tuesday, October 27, to ensure it’s received by November 3 at 8 p.m.
- The postmark on your ballot does not count. In other words, if you mail your ballot on October 27, but it’s received on November 4, it will not count.
- You do not need to put a stamp on your mail-in ballot.
Drop-off ballot information
- There are ten official ballot drop-off locations in Deschutes County, including new locations in Downtown Bend and at Pine Nursery Park. There are additional locations in the Old Mill District (near the Hilton Garden Inn) and near the ice skating Pavilion off Simpson Avenue.
- Drop-off locations will begin accepting ballots on Friday, October 16. Some drop-off locations will accept ballots 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. on November 3. You can verify the hours of your drop-off location here.
- Please note the popular location in Downtown Bend has changed and is now located at 1300 NW Wall Street.
- The new location on the east side of Bend in Pine Nursery Park is open during regular park hours.
How ballots are processed in Deschutes County
- Your ballot is received by mail by November 3, or by an official drop-off site.
- Your signature is verified against the signature on your voter registration.
- Your ballot is opened, scanned and the image is stored on a secured system (not the internet).
- The results from your ballot are posted after 8 p.m. on Election Day. This year, Election Day is November 3, 2020.
- Learn more about the ballot flow in Deschutes County here.