With the general election 6 weeks away, the Baker County Clerk’s office is preparing for another round of ballots to count.
In a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, county officials say they’re better prepared to handle another election after working out the kinks during the May primary.
“There are some obstacles to overcome but we did that with the primary, so we are set to go as far as the general goes,” County Clerk Stefanie Kirby said. “We worked through some of those bugs then, so now we are pretty well set.”
The biggest challenge in the primary was to protect election board members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Kirby said.
“We will implement for the general (election) the appropriate personal protective equipment, so gloves, hand sanitizer, face coverings.” Kirby said. “We will also have face shields for this election if they want, and we had to reduce the numbers a little bit as far as election board members to allow for the safe 6-foot distancing.”
During the primary, election board members moved from their usual room to a larger space to make distancing easier. They’ll use the same room Nov. 3, Kirby said.
The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 13. You can register to vote online at https://sos.oregon.gov/
The Clerk’s Office will deliver ballots to the Post Office on Oct. 14.
Ballots can be returned by mail, but Kirby recommends voters, if they don’t fill out their ballot until the final week before the election, take their ballot to a dropoff site rather than mailing it to ensure the ballot arrives before the deadline at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. Ballots postmarked before Nov. 3 don’t count if they arrive after that day at 8 p.m.
Voters can also bring their ballots to the Courthouse, 1995 Third St., and fill out their ballots at booths that will be available during the Clerk’s Office business hours, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The booths will be available once ballots have been mailed, and through election day.
Voters can also bring completed ballots to the Clerk’s Office during business hours, and until 8 p.m. on election days.
Ballot drop sites include one on the west (Fourth Street) side of the Courthouse, and it’s the only one that’s available around the clock, every day, including until 8 p.m. on election day.
The other ballot drop sites and schedules:
• Halfway City Hall, 155-B E. Record St.
Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Election day, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Huntington City Hall, 50 E. Adams St.
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Election day, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Richland City Hall, 89 Main St.
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon.
Election day 8 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.