WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.
Whatever the reason, Portlanders wasted no time voting.
With four days left until Election Day, 6 in 10 Multnomah County registered voters have returned their ballots. That's a shift in voting patterns that Tim Scott, director of Multnomah County Elections has never seen before.
Scott spoke with WW on Thursday, Oct. 29. In our conversation, he said the wave of early returns has one clear impact: At 8 pm on election night, Oregonians will know a lot more about the results than they typically do.
In a normal year, Scott says, the first batch of election returns includes 50 to 60 percent of total ballots cast. But on Tuesday, Scott expects Multnomah County will be able to release the results of 70 to 80 percent of total ballots cast. That will give Portland a clear picture of how close the mayor's race is—and it might mean that the typical "blue wave" of Portland-area Democrats will arrive earlier in the night, instead of swinging statewide races at 3 in the morning.
Of course, that depends on how many county residents end up voting. Since this conversation with Scott, returns slowed. But it's still possible that Multnomah County could, for the first time in its history, top 90% voter turnout.
It came awfully close once before, as Scott explains.