2016 General Election FAQ

Frequently asked questions and answers about the November, 2016 General Election.

Registration and Voting​

Nov. 8, 2016. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8. 
Post marks don’t count. Leave plenty of time if you plan to mail in your ballot. Or if it’s close to Election Day, drop your ballot in a drop box​.
Oct. 18, 2016. If you register after this you will still be registered but will not be able to vote in the Nov. 8, 2016 election.
Registering to vote is simple and convenient in Oregon.

  1. Online: If you have an Oregon driver license or other DMV identification, you can update your registration at OregonVotes.gov/myvote​.
  2. Registration card: You can fill out a paper registration card. You can find these at most post offices, libraries, and your county elections office. Or, download a PDF version to print and mail​ to your county elections office​. If that’s not convenient, call your county elections office or the State Elections Division (1-866-673-VOTE) and request one.
No. You do not have to vote for anyone that is listed on the ballot. There will be space to write-in the name of the candidate you wish to vote for if they are not listed on your ballot. You may also choose not to vote in some races and leave those races blank.
Yes. Individuals who were not registered at the time of the May Primary and individuals who chose not to return a voted Primary ballot are still eligible to vote in the November election as long as they are a current registered voter before Oct. 18, 2016.
No. In November which races and measures are on your ballot only depends on where you live, not your political party.
No. In November which races and measures are on your ballot only depends on where you live, not on belonging to a political party.
No. You may vote for any candidate you wish. Which candidates you voted for is private, so no one will know how you voted unless you tell them.​
When write-in votes are cast in Oregon, they are counted by a process laid out in Oregon law. A voter can write-in a person's name on the ballot and the vote will count. The write-in votes will be tallied together except if the total number of write-in votes equals or exceeds the number of votes cast for any candidate printed on the ballot of the same office, then the tally will show the total number of votes for each write-in candidate.

The impact of a write-in candidate receiving more votes than either major Presidential party nominee whose electors are already assigned has never been evaluated under applicable Oregon and Federal law since this has not arisen in any previous Presidential election. If such a situation should arise, the Elections Division will take appropriate steps to resolve the question prior to the convening of those electors 30 days after the election.


There are many safeguards built into our voting system. Our elections are run at the county level by local officials and election workers. Oregon’s 36 counties use different machines for counting and verifying ballots, none of which are connected to the internet. Election workers work in teams made up of local citizens with different party registrations at all stages of the process.
We use a paper-based vote-by-mail system that is routinely audited and would make altering the results of elections virtually impossible, but makes it easy to track all ballots from the beginning of the process to the end. Additionally, the signature on the outside envelope of each ballot received is verified by a trained election worker to make sure it matches the voter record on file. At that point, the envelope and the ballot are separated so that the content of your ballot is completely secret.
Although there is internet access for voters seeking to register or update their registration, the data collected from that system is not entered directly into the registration database until county officials have reviewed the new registrations or updates. In this way, Oregon county clerks can detect if multiple registrations appear or other unusual activity.
Voter fraud is extremely rare in Oregon as in most states. Most often the cases we see turn out to be isolated mistakes – like when a person tries to sign a ballot for their spouse.
If your county participates in BallotTrax, you can sign up for notifications of your ballot’s status via text message. Contact your elections office​ to find out if this service is available to you. Even if your county does not participate in that program, you can also find out your ballot’s status on MyVote, which will be updated every evening.

​Registration Deadline

The deadline to register to vote for the November election was Oct. 18, 2016.

Alternative Format

If you prefer not to register online, get the PDF version to print and mail
If you go with this option, mail the form to your county elections office​