Key dates to know for Oregon’s May Primary Election

OREGON, USA (KGW)— Oregon’s 2022 Primary Election is coming up on May 17, and Oregonians should start to see Voters’ Pamphlets and ballots arrive in the mail in just a few weeks.

You can keep up on all the latest election news at KGW’s Elections page, including state and local races, candidates and campaign issues, voter guides and up-to-date election results when the big day arrives.

In the meantime, if you’re planning to vote in the May election, here are the three most important dates you need to know:

April 26: Last day to update voter registration

If you’re planning to register to vote, update your mailing address or change your party affiliation ahead of the primary, you must do so by 11:59 p.m. on April 26 for the change to take effect in time.

You can check your voter registration status using the Oregon Secretary of State’s My Vote online system. Enter your name and date of birth and the system will tell you whether you’re registered as an active voter, as well as your current party affiliation and the address on file where your next ballot will be mailed.

You can also register to vote or update your registration information through My Vote. You’ll need an Oregon driver’s license, permit or state ID card to complete the process online.

If you do not have an ID, the system will generate a voter registration card that you will need to print, sign and mail or hand-deliver to your county elections office. You can also print out a blank card to fill out by hand.

RELATED: VERIFY: What happens if my ballot envelope signature doesn’t match?

April 27: Start checking your mailbox for a ballot

Ballots will start being mailed to voters with Oregon addresses on April 27 (military and overseas ballots are mailed several weeks earlier), and the last of them will be mailed by May 3. Absentee or replacement ballots will be mailed by May 12.

Once you have your ballot, you can fill it out and submit it at any time either by mailing it back in or dropping it off at a ballot drop box.  You can track the status of your ballot – both while it’s on its way to you and once you’ve submitted it – through My Vote.

Most Oregon political parties hold closed primaries, which means your ballot may look different depending on your party registration. In the race for Oregon governor, for example, registered Democrats will only be able to vote for Democratic candidates. The winning candidates from each party’s primary will face each other in the General Election in November.

Some nonpartisan races may be decided based purely on the May election results. For example, there are two Portland City Council races on the May 17 ballot, and if one of the candidates gets at least 50% of the primary vote, they’ll win the seat directly. If none of them hit that mark, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff in November.

RELATED: VERIFY: How do I track my ballot in Oregon?

May 17: Election Day

If you haven’t already submitted your completed ballot, this is the last day to do it. Ballots must be submitted at a drop box by 8 p.m. or mailed and postmarked by 8 p.m. on May 17 to be counted.

In prior years, mail-in ballots needed to be received on or before Election Day in order to be counted, but Oregon passed a law in 2021 that allows mail-in ballots to be counted even if they are received up to seven days after Election Day.

However, ballots must still be mailed AND postmarked before 8 p.m. on Election Day to count, and it’s important to remember that newly dropped-off mail does not get postmarked until it has been picked up from the mailbox and processed at a post office.

In other words, if it’s 6 p.m. on May 17 and you still haven’t submitted your ballot, it’s very likely too late to send it through the mail. The best way to make sure your ballot gets counted is to find your nearest drop box and deposit it before 8 p.m.

County election offices and the Secretary of State’s office typically begin posting early election results shortly after the 8 p.m. submission deadline, with periodic updates in the subsequent hours and days as more ballots are counted.

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