By News-Register staff • 

Ballots are being safely counted, clerk assures

News-Register file photo
News-Register file photo

Yamhill County voters’ ballots are being counted as many have been returned much earlier than in previous years — 20,600 as of Thursday, compared to 13,111 at this point in the 2016 election, County Clerk Brian Van Bergen said.

In the entire state of Oregon, 736,109, or 25% of ballots, have been returned, according to data from the Secretary of State.

Several county voters called the clerk’s office earlier this week concerned they had not received confirmation of their ballots being counted several days after turning them in.

Yamhill County does not begin checking ballot signatures (the action that officially counts the ballot) until 13 days before Election Day, in this case Wednesday, October 21.

Van Bergen said the concerns likely arose from viewing unofficial ballot return data on the Secretary of State’s site, which showed vast disparities between counties like Multnomah, which started counting ballots last Saturday, and Yamhill County. Counties with higher populations also have machines that scan the outside of envelopes while in Yamhill County, they’re checked by hand, Van Bergen said.

He said the county is safely on track to finish counting all ballots by Nov. 3. He’s more concerned about relieving people’s concerns about their ballots.

“What we’re up against is allaying everyone’s fears that they have their ballots in our building. We’ll make a great deal of progress today and tomorrow,” Van Bergen said on Thursday.

He encourages people to share on social media when they receive confirmation their ballot was counted, as it may help ease other people’s concerns about their ballots. You can sign up to track your ballot on the Secretary of State’s site.

Van Bergen also stressed that if a signature doesn’t match on a ballot, the vote can still count. The ballot tracking program will notify voters, and they will also receive correspondence in the mail if their signature doesn’t match. Voters have until 14 days after the election to go to the clerk’s office and cure their signature, but Van Bergen encourages them to vote early to allow plenty of time for such a scenario.


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