By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Ballots are in the mail

Ballots are going out this week for the election to recall County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer. Election day is March 22.

Ballots for county residents serving overseas were mailed on Feb. 22; out-of-state ballots went out on Feb. 24.

Ballots for residents currently in the county went to the post office on Thursday, but County Clerk Brian Van Bergen reminded voters that “mail does not deliver overnight nor does every piece for every member of one home arrive on the same day. People should wait until Wednesday March 9 before calling us to ask where their ballot is. They should check their mailbox before they go to bed on the 8th.”

This year, after a change in Oregon law, people have longer to mail in their ballots; they may be postmarked up to the day of the election.

However, Van Bergen said, “it is hyper critical that people mailing their ballots back understand that if they mail late, they need to walk into their post office, wait and talk to a human behind the counter and watch them ‘round stamp’ (hand cancel) their ballot envelope. That’s the old school method of a ‘postmark.’ If a voter doesn’t do that, they are risking not getting a postmark on their envelope. The post office does not postmark every piece of mail.”

He said he continues to believe that “It is always faster, safer, cheaper, more secure, and more reliable to use our ballot drop boxes. That is especially true in the last week before each election. I always recommend people stop mailing back their ballots during the week before an election.” He stressed that holds true even with the new postmark rule.

Ballot drop boxes are available in every city in the county; a list of them is available on the clerk’s website, at No postage is required to use them.

Van Bergen also reminded voters that ballot envelopes must be signed “with a signature that matches their voter registration card. ... it is vital that we can match the signature you put on your envelope with the signature we have on file. If those two don’t match, we do not open your ballot envelope.”

With the recall election underway and the May primary just weeks away, Van Bergen said, it’s a good time for voters to review their voter registration, to make sure it reflects their current political beliefs. That’s especially important in the primary, he said, because “That is the one election where being registered in a party determines what contests appear on your ballot. If you are not registered in one of the big two, you will only have about half of the contests on your ballot.”

Aiding in that effort, he noted, is that “voters across Yamhill County will receive their new ‘VNC’ (Voter Notification Card) in a week or so showing their new Precinct, Congressional District, etc. and they will also receive their ballot for the recall.”

The county has only recently completed its redistricting process, but Van Bergen said the maps probably won’t be out for “another month or two” because the county must contract out the GPS work to create them.

In addition to looking at voter notification cards, voters also may check their voter registration, or register to vote, online, at The voter registration deadline in Oregon is 21 days before election day.

If Berschauer is recalled, her position will be vacated immediately, and the remaining two commissioners, Casey Kulla and Mary Starrett, will nominate and appoint an interim replacement. Candidates may apply for consideration; they must be at least 18, have lived in the county for at least a year and be an active registered voter. 

Both Kulla and Starrett’s terms expire at the end of this year. Starrett has filed to run for a third term, and is facing a contested race. Kulla is running for state labor commissioner; three candidates are running for his seat.


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