Pacific Votes! Primary Election is Coming Soon
It's primary election season and ballots will soon start arriving in the mail. To ensure your ballot is returned on time, please make it a priority to get it returned before you leave for summer break.
To help you understand what primary election season means and how to prepare, please review this quick Pacific Votes! Guide provided by the Tom McCall Center for Civic Engagement (MCCE).
Learn more about:
- Oregon Primary Election Day: May 17
- Primary Elections in California, Hawaiʻi , Washington, and other states
- How to Prepare for Election Season
- Why Vote in a Primary?
- The MCCE is Here to Help
Oregon Primary Election: May 17
Ballots for Oregon's primary election will start arriving around April 28th. Ballots can be returned in one of two ways:
- Using a 24-hour ballot drop box (big blue box facing the Forest Grove Campus on Pacific Avenue, or at many other locations) no later than 8 p.m. on election night.
- Via the mail, with no postage required, no later than 8 p.m. on election night (per a change to Oregon law that went into effect January 1—the envelope must have a postmark of May 17 or it will not be counted).
Please make it a priority to return your ballots before you leave for summer break!
Primary Elections Dates
As a college student, you have the choice whether to register to vote in Oregon or in another home state. Prefer to vote in your home state? It is likely that you also have an upcoming primary election:
- California: June 7
- Hawai’i: August 13
- Washington: August 2
- Find all states here
How to Prepare
To check your voter registration (Oregon voters must be registered and have the correct address on file 21 days before an election, in some states it is even earlier) and get prepared to vote, MCCE recommends BallotReady, which provides personalized, nonpartisan information to voters in all 50 states and will help you make a plan to vote safely, through early voting and vote-by-mail, based on the process in every jurisdiction.
Why vote in a primary?
- Primary elections determine which candidate will represent each political party during the general election. If you want the opportunity to vote for candidates in November's election that match your values, you can help make sure they actually make it onto the ballot by voting for them now. In Oregon, you need to register as a Republican or a Democrat to decide on partisan candidates (e.g. for governor or congress). All other candidates (for judges, most local offices, and measures) will appear on the ballot for all voters regardless of party affiliation.
- Primary elections generally attract more partisan voters, which is how extreme candidates can end up on the ballot in a general election. Improving participation now can help to moderate the outcomes.
- Based on voter turnout and primary results, parties may rework their election strategy and devote more or less attention and resources towards certain demographics, states, and issues.
- Local ballot measures matter and will be included! For example, Forest Grove residents will have the opportunity to vote on the Local Option Replacement Levy, which is how the city funds our fire, police, parks, and library services.