Elections Covid-19

Volunteer ballot box courier Wayne Schade locks up a ballot box after emptying it outside City Hall in Coos Bay.

COOS COUNTY — With ballots in the mail Thursday, the 2020 general election is officially underway in Coos County.

Voters have a number of ways to return their ballots, according to the county clerk's office. Ballots include free postage, so they can be returned by mail at no cost to the voter.

There are also seven drop sites throughout the county, which are open now and accept ballots through 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, Election Day:

  • Bandon City Hall, 555 U.S. Highway 101. Office open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Closed Fridays. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Coos Bay City Hall, 500 Central Avenue. Drive-up collection box is ADA accessible and open 24 hours a day through Election Day.
  • Coquille Courthouse, 250 North Baxter Street. Walk-up collection box is ADA accessible and open 24 hours a day through Election Day.
  • Lakeside City Hall, 915 North Lake Road. Building mail slot is ADA accessible and open 24 hours a day through Election Day.
  • Myrtle Point City Hall, 424 Fifth Street. Office open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • North Bend Fire Department, 1880 McPherson Avenue. Office open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
  • Powers Market, 409 Second Avenue. Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

In Reedsport, ballots can be returned by mail, or to the Douglas County Annex at 680 Fir Avenue. The drive-thru drop box is open 24 hours a day through Election Day.

The Coos County clerk's office recommends mailing ballots by Oct. 27. After that day, ballots should be returned to a physical drop site to ensure they're received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Postmarks don't count for meeting this deadline.

Voters should receive their ballots in the next few days, according to the clerk's office. After Oct. 22, anyone who hasn't received a ballot should call the elections office at 541-396-7610 to check on its status.

Unsigned ballots, and those with signatures that don't match a voter's registration, will take longer to process. Voters can check on the status of their ballots at www.oregonvotes.gov/myvote.

Voter registrations surge

Coos County also saw a surge in voter registrations right before Tuesday's deadline, according to County Clerk Debbie Heller.

Her office had been processing 200 registrations (including new registrations and updates) every day for about a week, she said. The office will continue to process voter registrations it receives, so long as they were postmarked by Oct. 13.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the county had just under 48,000 registered voters, she said. That's about 1,800 more voters than the May primary, and around 7,500 more than the 2016 general election.

Going into this fall, non-affiliated and minor party voters make up the largest share of registrations, with about 20,000. That's compared to around 15,500 registered Republicans and 12,000 Democrats, according to Heller's data.

All voters receive the same general election ballots, though party affiliation impacts primary elections at other times of the year.

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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