How Vote by Mail Works

When will I get my ballot

Ballots are mailed to registered voters by county election offices 18 to 14 days before Election Day.  If you have not received your ballot within a week after they are mailed, call your county elections office. They will check your registration and, if it is current, mail you a replacement ballot.

If a ballot is delivered to your residence for someone who should no longer receive ballots at your address, write “RETURN” on the envelope and place it back in your mailbox.

How to vote your ballot

Your ballot packet will include three items:  the ballot, a secrecy envelope, and a return envelope.

To vote:

  • Fill out your ballot. You are not required to cast a vote on every race or ballot measure.
  • Place your finished ballot in the secrecy envelope and seal it.
  • Place the secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed return envelope and seal it.
  • Verify that your name and address printed on the return envelope are accurate.
  • Sign the return envelope in the space indicated.  You must sign your ballot for it to be counted!
  • Put your ballot in the mail (remember to put a stamp on it) or return it to an official drop site.

If you require assistance in voting, contact the county elections office.

If you make a mistake on your ballot, do not return it.  Call your county elections office and request a replacement ballot. One will be mailed to you provided the request is received with sufficient time for mailing. Otherwise, you may pick up a replacement ballot in person at the elections office.

If you forget to sign your ballot, you may be able to correct the error.  If time allows, your unopened return envelope will be returned to you by mail for your signature.  If time does not allow for this mailing, an attempt will be made to contact you by phone. You will then need to go to your county elections office to sign the envelope.

Deadline to return your ballot

The elections office must receive your ballot by 8:00 pm on Election Day. Be aware that postmarks do not count!  If you mail your ballot, we recommend that you mail it no later than the Thursday before electon day.

Another option is to bring your ballot to an official drop site. Ballots returned to an official drop site location do not require postage.

Thank you to the League of Women Voters of Portland for this information.

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