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COOS COUNTY — More ballots were cast in the May primaries than in recent years, though County Clerk Debbie Heller still hoped for more voter turnout.

As of 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Heller said 22,042 ballots were returned of the 46,000 sent out. Compared to the last presidential primary in 2016, which saw a total of 19,564 ballots returned, “We definitely got more ballots,” she said.

Though the final unofficial numbers are out, the election won’t be certified for 20 days as the Coos County Elections Office receives ballots accidentally mailed to other counties and sorts out challenged ballots. These challenged ballots include envelopes that had no signature or a signature that didn’t match what is on record.

“Anyone who didn’t sign their envelopes or if their signature has been questioned, we immediately notify them,” Heller said. “Some have already been notified if they mailed their ballot in early ….”

As for Heller and her staff, Election Day moved slower than normal.

“We had a little more downtime,” she said.

When asked why, Heller wasn’t sure but suggested it could be from the high percentage of early mail-in ballots her office received.

“That might be due to (the new) pre-paid postage or COVID-19, with people not wanting to go out,” she said.

Though most of Election Day went smoothly, if a little slow, it hit a snag when Heller tried to post the final unofficial tallies to the county website. She had trouble posting the information, leaving the public unable to see election results.

The glitch only lasted for a few minutes.

Otherwise, Heller said she and her staff will be back in the office this morning at 8 a.m. to start processing the challenged ballots.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 236, or by email at Follow her on Twitter: @je_wardwriter.


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