There Is an Election Tuesday, May 16

Ballots can be dropped off until 8 pm and will be counted if postmarked by tomorrow.

Although relatively few voters have turned in their ballots in Multnomah County, there is an election on Tuesday, May 16.

Part of the reason ballot returns are modest (14% as of late Monday morning) is there is relatively little on the ballot: a contested Multnomah County commissioner race (WW has endorsed Julia Brim-Edwards); what would be the nation’s first local capital gains tax (WW recommends a “no” vote); the renewal of the Portland Children’s Levy (yes); and a tortuous race for the Portland Public Schools board in which Derrick Peterson, the early consensus choice, dropped out, dropped in and dropped out again (WW recommends voting for his opponent, Patte Sullivan).

Off-year elections rarely excite the electorate. Here are the turnout totals in Multnomah County for the past four May off-year contests:

2021: 24.87%

2019: 16.24%

2017: 31.12%

2015: 17:56%

Voters increasingly wait until the last day to submit ballots and, starting last year, got even more time as ballots postmarked by election day are now valid. They previously had to arrive at elections drop sites by 8 pm on election day.

Two other factors may be compounding slow returns: There is only one contested School Board race on the ballot this year, and Multnomah County mailed ballots late this year because of a printing error.

You can drop off your ballot before 8 pm on election day here.

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