Oregon mail-in voting: What to know

Oregon is one of 5 states that did universal mail-in voting before 2020

As the United States prepares to hold a presidential election in the midst of a deadly pandemic, many states are relying on voting by mail to reduce in-person contact at the polls, including Oregon.

Oregon was the first state in the U.S. to move to a universal mail-in voting system when it passed a ballot measure with significant majority support. Its universal mail-in system goes further than many states in that it does not have any form of in-person polling places. Voters are sent their ballots in the mail and can either return them by mail or in drop boxes across the state.

"Oregon’s system is very secure & produces some of the highest voter turnout rates in the country," Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno said in a tweet earlier this year. "As I’ve said before, our experience with vote-by-mail is a 20-year history of success."


Oregon is one of a handful of states that did universal mail-in elections before 2020, and others like California, New Jersey and Oregon have moved to universal mail-in this year in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. Experts have said they are largely not concerned about the risk of fraud in universal mail-in states but that they worry about the process of verifying signatures and counting ballots in the states that just adopted the system months ahead of a presidential election.

According to the Oregon secretary of state's website, voters get their ballots "two to three weeks before an election." They then can fill out the ballots and either mail them back or return them in drop boxes. Either way, ballots "must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day." In response to letters sent by the U.S. Postal Service to states about concerns some ballots may be delivered late, Clarno reiterated that voters are able to track their ballots and emphasized the availability of drop boxes.

"Every ballot has a unique barcode so voters can track their ballot on our My Vote website. We also encourage voters to take advantage of the hundreds of conveniently located drop sites throughout the state to drop off their ballot in person," Clarno said. "We will continue to work with our partners like county clerks across the state to make sure all Oregonians know the best options to return their ballots, whether it’s through the mail or in secure drop boxes to meet election deadlines.”


The Oregon secretary of state's website has a "Drop Box Locator," which it says will be updated 20 days before the presidential election.