2011 ORS § 254.470¹
Procedures for conducting election by mail
  • rules

(1) The Secretary of State by rule shall establish requirements and criteria for the designation of places of deposit for the ballots cast in an election. The rules shall also specify the dates and times the places of deposit must be open and the security requirements for the places of deposit. At a minimum, the places designated under this section shall be open on the date of the election for a period of eight or more hours, but must be open until at least 8 p.m. At each place of deposit designated under this section, the county clerk shall prominently display a sign stating that the location is an official ballot drop site.

(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection, the county clerk shall mail by nonforwardable mail an official ballot with a return identification envelope and a secrecy envelope not sooner than the 18th day before the date of an election and not later than the 14th day before the date of the election, to each active elector of the electoral district as of the 21st day before the date of the election.

(b) If the county clerk determines that an active elector of the electoral district as of the 21st day before the date of the election does not receive daily mail service from the United States Postal Service, the county clerk shall mail by nonforwardable mail an official ballot with a return identification envelope and a secrecy envelope to the elector not sooner than the 20th day before the date of an election and not later than the 18th day before the date of the election.

(c) In the case of ballots to be mailed to addresses outside this state to electors who are not long-term absent electors, the county clerk may mail the ballots not sooner than the 29th day before the date of the election.

(3) For an election held on the date of a primary election:

(a) The county clerk shall mail the official ballot of a major political party to each elector who is registered as being affiliated with the major political party as of the 21st day before the date of the election.

(b) The county clerk shall mail the official ballot of a major political party to an elector not affiliated with any political party if the elector has applied for the ballot as provided in this subsection and that party has provided under ORS 254.365 (Voting at primary election by major party members and nonaffiliated electors) for a primary election that admits electors not affiliated with any political party.

(c) An elector not affiliated with any political party who wishes to vote in the primary election of a major political party shall apply to the county clerk in writing. The application shall indicate which major political party ballot the elector wishes to receive. Except for electors described in subsection (4) of this section, and subject to ORS 247.203 (Change, termination or adoption of party affiliation before primary election), the application must be received by the county clerk not later than 5 p.m. of the 21st day before the date of the election.

(d) If the primary election ballot includes city, county or nonpartisan offices or measures, the county clerk shall mail to each elector who is not eligible to vote for party candidates a ballot limited to those offices and measures for which the elector is eligible to vote.

(4) For each elector who updates a voter registration after the deadline in ORS 247.025 (Registration deadline), the county clerk shall make the official ballot, the return identification envelope and the secrecy envelope available either by mail or at the county clerks office or at another place designated by the county clerk. An elector to whom this subsection applies must request a ballot from the county clerk.

(5) The ballot shall contain the following warning:

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Any person who, by use of force or other means, unduly influences an elector to vote in any particular manner or to refrain from voting is subject to a fine.

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(6) Upon receipt of any ballot described in this section, the elector shall mark the ballot, sign the return identification envelope supplied with the ballot and comply with the instructions provided with the ballot. The elector may return the marked ballot to the county clerk by United States mail or by depositing the ballot at the office of the county clerk, at any place of deposit designated by the county clerk or at any location described in ORS 254.472 (Compartments for marking ballots) or 254.474 (Voting booths for primary and general elections). The ballot must be returned in the return identification envelope. If the elector returns the ballot by mail, the elector must provide the postage. A ballot must be received at the office of the county clerk, at the designated place of deposit or at any location described in ORS 254.472 (Compartments for marking ballots) or 254.474 (Voting booths for primary and general elections) not later than the end of the period determined under subsection (1) of this section on the date of the election.

(7) An elector may obtain a replacement ballot if the ballot is destroyed, spoiled, lost or not received by the elector. Replacement ballots shall be issued and processed as described in this section and ORS 254.480 (Replacement ballots). The county clerk shall keep a record of each replacement ballot provided under this subsection. Notwithstanding any deadline for mailing ballots in subsection (2) of this section, a replacement ballot may be mailed, made available in the office of the county clerk or made available at one central location in the electoral district in which the election is conducted. The county clerk shall designate the central location. A replacement ballot need not be mailed after the fifth day before the date of the election.

(8) A ballot shall be counted only if:

(a) It is returned in the return identification envelope;

(b) The envelope is signed by the elector to whom the ballot is issued; and

(c) The signature is verified as provided in subsection (9) of this section.

(9) The county clerk shall verify the signature of each elector on the return identification envelope with the signature on the electors registration card, according to the procedure provided by rules adopted by the Secretary of State. If the county clerk determines that an elector to whom a replacement ballot has been issued has voted more than once, the county clerk shall count only one ballot cast by that elector.

(10) At 8 p.m. on election day, electors who are at the county clerks office, a place of deposit designated under subsection (1) of this section or any location described in ORS 254.472 (Compartments for marking ballots) or 254.474 (Voting booths for primary and general elections) and who are in line waiting to vote or deposit a voted ballot shall be considered to have begun the act of voting. [1981 c.805 §2; 1983 c.199 §2; 1985 c.575 §2; 1987 c.357 §3; 1987 c.733 §7a; 1993 c.493 §44; 1995 c.607 §43; 1995 c.712 §65; 1995 c.742 §17; 1999 c.410 §57; 1999 c.999 §54a; 1999 c.1002 §11; 2001 c.104 §79; 2001 c.805 §7; 2001 c.965 §14; 2005 c.797 §47; 2007 c.71 §78; 2007 c.154 §40a; 2008 c.53 §5; 2009 c.511 §24]