How to cast your ballot this election
McKenzie Leary/The Broadside
Every election year, many young people do not know how to vote.
In the state of Oregon, all ballots are sent by mail. If a student is registered to vote and hasn’t received their ballot yet, it should arrive by Oct. 23. If it doesn’t, a quick call to the county’s election office should resolve the error.
With many students voting for the first time, here is how to fill out a ballot and get it in time to ensure the vote is counted.
When opening up a ballot, there will be four pieces of paper. One is an envelope to mail the ballot back in; one is an optional ballot secrecy sleeve, one is a white piece of paper of instructions and information, and then there is the actual ballot.
It is crucial to read the instructions carefully and to take time when voting. Voters are not required to vote within every race. However, if someone votes for more options than allowed per race, the vote will not count within that contest.
When filling out who to vote for, be sure to use a black or blue pen and fill out the bubble. If there is a mistake, spill on or damage on the ballot in any way, call the local county’s election office for guidance because doing any of those things will disqualify the ballot.
After following the instructions on the ballot, reviewing it, and sealing it, make sure to sign the envelope. Not only is it required to sign the envelope, but the signature must match the one the state of Oregon has on file in for a voter’s registration record. If the signature does not match, the voter will be notified and have 14 days after the election to verify their signature; otherwise, their ballot will be disqualified.
The last day to turn a ballot in by mail is Oct. 29. Given the postal system’s current speed, mailing it back sooner will ensure the vote is counted, but it is not necessary. If the the deadline is missed, the ballot can still be placed in a drop box. Voters can find the nearest official drop box through this link. The latest one can submit their ballot is at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Once the ballot has been dropped off, the process is not entirely done. Given the circumstances of voter suppression in other states, voters can track their ballot’s status. This can be found by going to this link.
Congratulations, you have finished voting. Consider sharing the experience with friends and family and encourage them to vote as well.