Although voters had more than two weeks to get their ballots in before tonight’s 8 pm deadline, plenty still raced in cars, on bikes and skateboards, and by foot to the Multnomah County Elections Office in the election’s final minutes.
“If one person says ‘I was too busy,’ I’m going to shoot them. That’s such bullshit,” said Joel Finkelstein, 43, who said he left voting until the last minute because he’s “lazy” and homeless.
“I’m voting for Kitzhaber, even though I think someone else could ultimately do a better job,” Finkelstein said of the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. “I think every vote will make a difference.”
Although “procrastination” kept 20-year-old Chelsea Lagomarsino from casting her ballot with only 10 minutes to spare, she still believed it was important to secure her vote for Kitzhaber in the governor’s race against Republican Chris Dudley.
“A lot of it is just that I didn’t want Dudley,” Lagomarsino said. “I work in a restaurant, so a lot of [Dudley's platforms] were like, ‘No way, dude!’ So I’m definitely all about John Kitzhaber.”
Despite a steady stream of voters at the office, the line outside had dissipated completely by the final hour, with only a handful of voters forced to make a mad dash to the ballot box before the clock ticked toward 8 pm. One veteran observer said he thought it was far less busy than previous years, which he attributed to local voters becoming more accustomed to postal voting, rather than apathy or disinterest.
But for one voter at least, voting in person at the election office remains part of the fun.
“I love the party!” beamed Ellen Leatham.”I’m 62, and I’ve missed two primary elections since I was 18. That’s all. I love it. I always brought my children. We come down in person to vote, and we pay our taxes down at the main post office. Because it’s a party.”