Oregon Secretary of State

Frequently Asked Questions

​​​Oregon’s Elections Division is your official source for trusted information about elections.​ Your county​ may also provide more detailed information. But remember to always use official sources to ensure you’re getting information you can trust. ​

​​​​Registering to vote in Oregon is quick and simple. Oregonians can register:

The deadline to register is 21 days before Election Day.

Many voters are automatically registered when they go to the DMV. Learn more about Oregon’s Motor Voter Act

Need help? Start here​.

​​The Oregon Elections Division does not currently send text message alerts to Oregonians. Some counties offer ballot tracking so voters can be notified via text, phone or email when your ballot is mailed and again when it has been accepted for counting. Any text message you receive about your voter registration status is not an official communication from the Oregon Elections Division. If have any questions or concerns about your voter registration status, please visit My Vote or contact your county clerk​.

​​​Vote-by-mail is a modern and secure way to vote that Ore​gonians have been using for more than 20 years. Oregon has been an all vote by mail state for twenty years. Voters’ pamphlets and ballots are mailed to active registered voters two to three weeks before each statewide election. Voters can return ballots by mail or at any official drop box across the state.

Ballots must be mailed with a valid post mark by Election Day.​

​​Click here for information on the current election​. Ballots must be mailed with a valid post mark by Election Day.​​​​

​​​​​The postmark rule refers to a law passed in 2021 that allows ballots mailed* on Election Day to count even if they are received up to seven days after Election Day. Y​es, you can mail your ballot on election day so long as it is picked up and postmarked by the post office that day.​

This improvement ensures that every vote cast on time gets counted. It may also delay the results of close races because it will take a few days for all the votes to be counted.

*OAR 165-007-0045​ requires ballots to “have a postal indicator” showing that the ballot was mailed on or before election day. Postal indicators, or postmarks, are applied to mail when they are processed at the post office.

​​​​​Most political parties in Oregon choose to hold closed primaries. In a closed primary, only voters who are registered members of a party can vote for the candidates in that party’s primary. For example, registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary for Governor but not in the Republican primary for Governor. Under Oregon law, political parties can choose to have open or closed primaries.

​The winners of primary contests from different parties typically face each other in the General Election. All registered voters can participate in the General Election.

​Many voters in Oregon are not registered with a political party. Check your registration status​ to see if you are registered as a member of a political party. ​

​​​Candidates who do not appear in the voters' pamphlet did not submit a statement. The Secretary of State’s office is not responsible for the content of the voters' pamphlet. We facilitate the production of the document, but the materials are submitted directly by candidates and are published as submitted. If a candidate does not submit a statement by the deadline, they will not appear in the pamphlet. ​​

​For the primary election, voters’ pamphlet statements are separated by political party. The order of political parties rotates every two years. In 2020, Republicans went first. In 2022, Democrats went first. In 2024, Republicans will go first. ​​

​Some candidates choose to not be affiliated with any political party. We call these nonaffiliated candidates, although they are commonly referred to by voters and the media as independent.

Primary elections are held by parties to determine their nominee for the General Election in November. Offices like Governor, U.S. Senator or State Representative are examples of partisan offices that have primary elections. Since nonaffiliated candidates are not seeking a party nomination, they cannot participate in the primary. This arrangement is state law, not a decision made by elections officials.

​ Some offices are also nonpartisan, which means no candidates run with partisan labels. County commissioners or judicial races are examples in Oregon. These races do appear on Primary ballots. ​

​​​​​​​You can track your ballot through the process on our website by entering your name and date of birth in​ My Vote.

Additionally, some counties offer ballot tracking so voters can be notified via text, phone or email when your ballot is mailed and again when it has been accepted for counting. Contact your county clerk to learn more​. ​

Note: providing your phone or email address for ballot tracking makes your phone and email address a public record, subject to disclosure under Oregon’s public record law. Any member of the public can request public records from the Oregon Secretary Of State.

​​​​​​​​Several important processes are implemented by each Oregon county to ensure that your ballot is secret.

  1. Ballot envelopes are designed to ensure your ballot is unreadable until it is opened and counted. Many counties use a return envelope that has a security weave printed inside, preventing information on the ballot from being visible to anyone while the envelope is in transit. Other counties provide an optional secrecy sleeve or envelope that uses​ the same type of weave. Either a return envelope with security weave, or a secrecy sleeve ensures the privacy of the ballot.

  2. Every county in Oregon has procedures in place to ensure that authorized election staff, working in bipartisan teams, cannot see voters’ identifying information while opening return envelopes and separating the ballots. Each county has a specific workflow in place tailored to their building, equipment, and number of ballots typically returned. All workers are trained and take oaths to uphold the integrity of the elections process and protect voter privacy.

  3. The ballots - which contain no voter specific identifying information – are tabulated only after they are separated from the return envelopes. Election officials verify all voters’ eligibility prior to separating the ballots from the envelopes and accurately counting them. ​

​​​Oregon’s elections are secure. Paper ballots, hand recounts, accurate data and vote counting machines that are never connected to the internet are among the steps we take to verify the accuracy of election results.​ Learn more about Election Integrity in Oregon​. ​

​​Oregon takes many steps to protect the integrity of election results. Visit our Election Integrity page​ for even more details. At each step in the process, we’re working to ensure trusted results.

  • Accurate voter registration: The Elections Division regularly updates voter registration lists to remove deceased people, people who have moved, and other changes that impact eligibility. Oregon is a member of the Elections Registration Information Center (ERIC), a national data sharing system that ensures sharing of up-to-date voter registration information across states. Oregon is also a member of the National Change of Address, a system that provides a secure dataset of individuals and families that have filed a change-of-address with the USPS. These reports are shared to counties monthly to ensure up to date information. Similarly, the state receives information from the Health Authority and other state agencies that is regularly shared compliment national information. And daily the DMV and Elections Division share information to reflect automatic and online voter registration information. This year-round widely sourced information sharing ensures that when we mail ballots, they go to an accurate list.
  • Preventing fraudulent voting: We’ve never seen widespread fraud on a scale that would impact the results of an election in Oregon. Elections officials take many steps to protect the integrity of our elections. Signature verification, unique barcodes, and paper material that cannot be replicated, and other security procedures are in place across the state.
  • Transparency: Voters are welcome to observe the ballot counting process, test of voting machines before elections, and signature verification, at any site in Oregon.
  • Post-election review: All counties conduct hand recounts after statewide elections. These recounts are available to the public. Find out more at Oregonvotes.gov/integrity​.

Your county elections office​ can help you with any problem you may have. ​​

​​​Students attending an out-of-state college or voters traveling during an election can still receive a ballot. 

Fill out the Absentee Ballot Request Form and return it to the county elections office​​, or update online using My Vote​.​ ​​

Yes. Once released from incarceration a person is immediately eligible to vote again, but they must re-register (or update their registration) at Oregonvotes.gov or their county elections office. Voters should double check to make sure their address is accurate when registering or updating their registration. ​​​

​Voters can’t vote twice. Ballot return envelopes are processed with identifying information that prevents one voter from returning two ballots. 

It’s uncommon for a voter to receive more than one ballot. Sometimes it does happen when a voter’s information changes shortly before or after ballots are mailed. 

If this happens to you, know that you can only vote once. If you have questions, contact your county elections office: OregonVotes.gov/Counties.

Only voters who have registered in Oregon will have their ballot counted. Voters must provide documentation verifying they are U.S. citizens when registering to vote. Only U.S. citizens may vote in Oregon elections.​​