Friday, October 8, 2010

Deadline For Oregon Voting Registration Approaches

If you're an Oregon resident, and you've moved since the last time you voted (or have never voted before), the deadline for registration is Tuesday.  I saw an article at The Barometer (OSU's student newspaper) a couple of days ago discussing an ASOSU task force trying to get as many students- many of whom have moved over the past year or two- as possible registered over the next few days.  There have been a couple of people with the appropriate forms hanging out at 16th and Monroe today, answering questions and trying to get bypassers registered, and I'm sure there are more teams scattered around other near-campus locations as well.

One of the things I was told by the worker is that you can vote a "fail-safe" ballot as well (assuming you are properly registered).  This is like a back-up ballot; if you haven't received your ballot in the mail when you expect (for example, it's mis-delivered), you can fill this out, and the voting office will hold that form.  If your original ballot isn't returned, or has been improperly completed, the fail-safe ballot gets counted in its stead.

If you prefer, you can register on-line here.  This is going to sound strange at first, but this deadline is, in many ways, both easier to ignore or forget, and more important, than election day itself, at least for Oregon residents.  It's easier to miss because it doesn't get the attention and press that election day does, and I say more important since without getting yourself registered, everything else is irrelevant.

Oregon's vote-by-mail system means that once you're registered, the ballot is mailed to you.  As I remember, it goes out about two weeks before election day.  Once you receive it, you can return it any time before the close of election day (I'm thinking 8:00 PM, but I'll follow up when the day approaches).  You can either mail it back (postage required), or put it in an official drop box- the two I use most often are in OSU's Valley Library and Corvallis Public Library.  In other words, the system is wonderfully flexible in letting you think and vote at a time that is convenient for you.  Other than familiarizing yourself with the issues and candidates, registration is arguably the most important and demanding part of the process- and it's pretty easy.

So whatever your political views, take the time to get yourself registered before the close of day next Tuesday.  The rest of the process pretty much takes care of itself.

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