If you live in Clackamas County, chances are you've been deluged with election mail, flyers, canvassers, and campaign phone calls. Whether you're a Republican choosing between gubernatorial candidates, a Democrat in the middle of a intense primary contest for Congress, or the rest of us who are contacted from all sides of the nonpartisan County Commission races, you probably feel like you want them to stop.
The good news is, there is a very easy way to get the campaigns to stop contacting you: Turn in your ballot!
For this Primary Election, you've got to have your ballot in the post office or in a dropbox by 8:00pm on this Tuesday, May 17. (find a list of dropboxes here)
In Oregon, all ballots are returned by mail, dropbox, or delivered right to the County Clerk, which means that people can vote at ANY time between when they get their ballot (April 28 this year) and election day (May 17). Here's a neat little bit of information, though: every few days, County Clerks issue what's called a "matchback" report, showing who has returned a ballot. (They can't see HOW you voted, or even whether you voted in any particular contest, they only report whether you returned a ballot yet or not.)
Political campaigns that send out mail or make phone calls or go door-to-door are basing those plans on publicly available lists of voters that are constantly updated. When you turn your ballot in, the updated list shows that you've already voted in this particular election. Guess how many resources a campaign wants to expend in order to communicate with a voter whose already returned their ballot? Zilch. Nada. Nothing. As soon as those matchback reports start coming in, most campaigns cross the "already-voted" voters off their lists. No more junk mail, no more canvassing, no more phone calls. They don't want to spend money on postage or anything else if there's no chance of earning a vote.
For this election, turnout is lagging a bit, but not too much behind the last midterm primary. As of last Friday morning, 14.6% of voters had returned a ballot, compared to 16.2% at the same point in 2018. That's another reason, though, to return your ballot: With less people voting, your vote becomes that much more influential.
You can return your ballot (don't forget to put it in the envelope and sign it!) either by putting it in a dropbox (find a list of dropboxes here) or popping it in a mailbox and ensuring that it's postmarked by Election Day. (Here's a link to CCPOA's endorsements.)
Just remember: In the future if you don't want to collect piles of junk mail, canvasser flyers, and dinnertime campaign phone calls... return your ballot as soon as possible when you get it!