Ballots

Coos County Elections Office is seeing a surge in voter ballots being turned in.

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COOS COUNTY — So far, more voters have turned out for the current primary election than in previous years.

On Monday, the Coos County Elections Office reported 15,854 ballots received out of a total of 46,600 ballots sent out.

“… We’re at 34.3% percent so far (of ballots received) and in 2016 we were only at 31%,” said Debbie Heller, county clerk. According to county records, the primary presidential 2012 election saw 28.4% voter turnout at the same point in time.

Compared just to 2016, Heller said this election is steadily ahead by 5,000 more ballots. When asked why, she suggested part of it could be that this is the first election with pre-paid postage

“Pre-paid postage made ballots come in earlier, I believe,” she said, but added, “Presidential (elections) are just very popular. Everyone wants to vote, so your returns are higher there.”

At the end of Election Day in the 2016 primary, there was a total of 56% ballots returned.

“… So there’s a possibility we’ll hit around that or higher,” Heller hoped.

Ballots are still being collected, and will be throughout today, at designated drop sites. Heller said the ballot boxes have been “very full,” with 800 envelopes collected from the Coos Bay City Hall drop site just Monday morning.

Because postmarked ballots don’t count in Oregon, local post offices are holding onto ballots that were mailed too late. These ballots are being picked up by couriers for the Elections Office. According to Heller, recent trips to collect these holdovers at post offices in North Bend and Lakeside produced 200 ballots.

From where Heller stands, she is excited to see “People are getting out and voting and that’s a good thing.”

Heller reminded the public to check the Coos County Elections Office website for a list of drop site locations.

“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls about drop sites,” she said. “If they can’t get through (to the Elections Office) on the phone, they can look on our website for those sites.”

The ballot drop sites available on Election Day are at:

Bandon Library, 1204 11th St. SW. Use the 24-hour book return; due by 8 p.m. Election Day.

Coos Bay City Hall, 500 Central Ave. Use the 24-hour ADA drive-up; due by 8 p.m. Election Day.

Coquille Courthouse, 250 N Baxter St. Use the 24-hour ADA walk-up; due by 8 p.m. Election Day.

Lakeside City Hall, 915 North Lake Rd. Use the mail slot; due by 8 p.m. Election Day.

Myrtle Point City Hall, 424 5th St. Drop-off available from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Election Day.

North Bend Fire Dept., 1880 McPherson Ave. Drop-off available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through Election Day.

Powers Market, 409 2nd Ave. Drop-off available daily from 8 a.m.-7 p.m., and from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Election Day.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 236, or by email at worldnews1@countrymedia.net. Follow her on Twitter: @je_wardwriter.

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