BEND, OR -- With less than a week before the May Primary, the vast majority of Oregonians haven't yet voted. Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says she’s talked to a lot of people who haven’t yet cast their ballot, "Trying to encourage them to get their ballots in, and so many people have such apathy. But, you know what? With this low turnout, you can really make a difference. Your voice is heard. And, it’s important."
As of Wednesday evening, just over 15% of Deschutes County registered voters had turned in their ballot, which is slightly higher than the statewide average. Jefferson County turnout is at 17.4%, and Crook county's turnout is a bit higher still; Blankenship tells KBND News it’s not unusual for voters in rural counties to be more engaged, "I think that’s attributed to lots of different things, but some of it is they know these people personally and they have a vested interest in that. There are different opportunities to meet these candidates throughout the campaign period, so it’s incumbent upon each of us to get to know those people when we can."
Overall, Blankenship is disappointed, "I was hoping that we’d have a good turnout this election. We’ve got money measures in most parts of Deschutes County, there’s some contentious races as well, even for non-partisan races – there are some judgeships that are contested. So, there’s a lot of things on the ballot and because turnout is so low, every vote is going to count." She says it’s too late to mail your ballot and should be dropped off at an official drop site or county elections office; locations and times can be found in the voters’ pamphlet. Or, click HERE
for Deschutes County drop sites and HERE
for Jefferson County locations.
Signed ballots are due by 8 p.m. Tuesday.