HOW DO WE VOTE IF WE HAD TO LEAVE OUR HOME?

Oregon’s vote by mail system allows anyone to request their ballot at an address of their choosing or ask that it be held for them to retrieve at the county elections office if they are unsure of where they will be. 

If you have been displaced by wildfire, the pandemic, or any other reason, Oregon’s Vote by Mail system has safeguards in place so you can vote in your local election. In Oregon, you can vote a ballot for your home address, even if your home burned and you’re staying elsewhere

How to vote in your local election even if you are staying somewhere else

  1. To vote by mail, update your voter registration at oregonvotes.org with your temporary address. You will receive your hometown ballot there. You do not need to re-register.
  2. You can also have your ballot held “will-call” style at your county Elections office, send it to a PO Box, or shelter.
  3. To vote in person, go to your local county elections offices. No offices were harmed during the fires and under state law, each county has to provide adequate voting booths. 

If you have questions, contact your local county elections office and make a plan with them on how to vote. 

You do not need to re-register to vote if you are displaced. Oregonians deserve a secretary of state who doesn’t spread false information and create confusion during emergency situations. 

If you aren’t sure where you will be living when ballots are mailed, or move again after changing your mailing address, voters can always go to a county elections office in person and request a provisional ballot. And they can do that in ANY county.  This is not only the county that a person is registered to vote in. 

Finally, the SOS and clerks in affected counties will be doing targeted outreach to individuals displaced by the fires. Their initial guidance can be found here: https://sos.oregon.gov/voting-elections/Pages/fires.aspx

FAQs for Displaced Voters 

Q. I was displaced by the recent fires. How do I make sure I receive my ballot? 

Oregonians have until the voter registration deadline, October 13th, to decide where they want their ballot sent if they are unable to receive mail/not returning home (while remaining registered in the districts of their damaged/lost homes). 

They can make the address change online in just a couple of minutes using My Vote (oregonvotes.org).

They can also ask for their ballot to be held “will call” style at their county elections office. 

Q. What is the difference between my registration address and my mailing address? Your registration address determines what races appear on your ballot. Even if you have lost your home or are not currently living in your home, you may use this address to register. Your mailing address is where your ballot will be sent. If you cannot collect mail at your residence, you can use a different mailing address.  

Q. Can I have my ballot sent to a Post Office Box?
Yes. 

Q. If I fill out a change of address form, will the Post Office forward my ballot to the new address?
No. The USPS cannot forward ballots. That is why it is important to update your voter registration or contact your county clerk. 

Q. What if my mailbox burned down?
Your ballot will be held for you at your local post office. 

Q. What if I forget to change my mailing address after the voter registration deadline?
Contact your county clerk. They may be able to hold your ballot for you at their offices. You can also vote in person at any county elections office using a provisional ballot. 

Q. Can I vote in person?
Yes. Once ballots are sent, all County Elections Offices are required to accommodate voting in person at their offices.