What is voting?
Voting is the most basic--yet arguably one of the most important--ways to participate in our democracy. In theory, voting is an excellent system because it provides opportunity to everyone to voice their opinions and enact change in their national and local governments. However, not everyone is guaranteed the opportunity to vote. Whether by law or by social suppression, many Americans are left out of voting. This is why it is so important to vote--you may be one of the few who represent your identities, and your voice needs to be heard. Luckily, Oregon has one of the most equitable voting systems in the United States: voting by mail.
How to vote
In Oregon, you will know when it is time to vote when a ballot and voter’s pamphlet arrive in your mailbox. If you do not receive these items it is either because you have not registered to vote or you are barred from voting. Voting may seem like a tedious process, but it should only require a few hours of your time. Spread throughout several days, this leaves plenty of time to do some research and make an informed decision. Hot tip: Rather than just reading the voter’s pamphlet, do some research via your local news outlet (e.g. The Oregonian, Willamette Weekly, etc.) and try to find candidate endorsements or comparisons. These information sources will provide much richer information to help you make your decision. Once you have collected an amount of information you’re comfortable with, it’s time to fill in your ballot! Make sure to fill out the entire ballot--you never know how much impact one governmental position can have.
My ballot is filled. What now?
Now that your ballot is completely filled out, it is time to either mail it in or deliver it to your local ballot drop box. For 2020, Oregon has prepaid all postage for ballots. This means you do not need to apply an address or a postage stamp to mail in your ballot. Simply put it in your mailbox or deliver to any USPS drop box in your area. If you don’t want to mail in your ballot, you can drive to your local city hall building, and a drop box should be there waiting for you. Don’t forget to sign your name on your ballot envelope!
Success! You have voted.
Now that you have successfully submitted your ballot, pat yourself on the back for contributing to democracy, and, perhaps more importantly, the well-being of your local community. If you have voted early and there is still time, encourage your friends and family to vote. By sharing your experience, you may make others feel more comfortable or realize the importance of voting. You don’t have to do anything else. However, if you want to track the results of your election, just go to results.oregonvotes.gov.