Multnomah County voters cast ballots in the first election since implementation of the Postmarks Law

May 17, 2022

This release may be viewed in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, and Somali.

Contacts: Tim Scott or Eric Sample, 503-988-VOTE (8683)

Multnomah County voters cast ballots in the first election since implementation of the Postmarks Law; secure, convenient and reliable elections remain pillars of the Vote by Mail process

As of 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18, Multnomah County voter turnout reached 32.72%, with just over 182,500 ballots cast in the Tuesday, May 17, 2022 Primary Election — that number is expected to climb. 

This election was the first in Multnomah County and statewide in which ballots postmarked on or before Election Day counted. While many voters continued to use Official Ballot Drop Sites that require ballots to be returned by 8 p.m., the new Postmarks Law gave more flexibility to voters who needed to mail their ballots on Election Day, provided that those ballots are postmarked on Election Day and arrive at a county elections office within seven days. The Elections Division received 13,000 ballots from the United States Postal Service (USPS) on Tuesday morning — more than what is typically seen on Election Day. 

Voter dropping off ballot at Official Ballot Drop Site near the Elections Division in Southeast Portland.

The new law has meant some changes to election processes and timelines. The number of days that a county elections office has to officially certify an election increased from 20 to 27 days, setting a June 13 deadline for this election. Mailed ballots, cast on time on or before Election Day, can still arrive up to seven days after Election Day. Because of those changes, as additional ballots come in, close contests may not be decided right away. The Elections Results Schedule for this election can be viewed online here

“But most of our processes remain the same, with the majority of the total ballots cast in an election reported by 8 p.m. on Election Night,” said Tim Scott, director of Multnomah County Elections. “Election workers still work into the evening and early morning hours, processing ballots, with results regularly posted on MultnomahVotes.gov.” 

In addition to these changes, voters in Multnomah County also had the opportunity to try out new Independent Voting Units available at the main elections office and at the Gresham Voting Center Express. The device is a tablet system that uses adaptive technology enabling all voters to vote independently and privately. Voters used the devices to listen to their ballot choices, and adjust font color and size. 

The Elections Division can employ up to 300 on-call election workers who join permanent staff to help conduct elections. Each sworn election worker serves a valuable role in ensuring accurate, accessible and secure elections for Multnomah County voters. Election workers’ roles include collecting ballots at drop sites, running ballots through high-speed sorters, opening ballot envelopes, providing direct voter services in Portland and Gresham, answering thousands of phone calls, and countless other duties in between. We thank them for their service.

Vote by Mail’s pillars – accurate, secure, convenient elections – remain steadfast 

For over two decades, Vote by Mail has been reliable, convenient and secure before, during and after each election — with security procedures and processes in place to keep it so.  

This year, Elections sent voters new ballot packets – with larger print and  images, and information about election services – while providing the same secure ballots voters have always received. Unique identifiers are on every ballot return envelope, and only one ballot for each voter can be counted. 

The paper ballot system offers:

  • Inherent security that is bolstered by ballot-counting systems that are never connected to the Internet. 
  • A paper trail from the casting and counting of ballots to election certification. 
  • A Track Your Ballot service that voters can use to watch their ballot move through the acceptance process. Almost 30% of eligible voters signed up for this service for the May Primary Election. Track Your Ballot is available in multiple languages. Voters can sign up before the next election at multnomah.ballottrax.net.

Finally, after every election, the system is audited by hand, using randomly selected batches and contests. Machine vote counts are compared to hand vote counts. This step also includes opportunities to observe these processes unfold and to ensure transparency and confidence in the election results. 

Watch more on the Election Process here

Local Elections Count!

Local elections are important and count tremendously in the decision- making that shapes the future of our communities. Thank you to the thousands of voters in Multnomah County who participated and made sure their voices were heard.

Final Official Election Results available June 13, 2022

Final official election results will be certified and submitted to special districts by June 13, 2022. The next scheduled election in Multnomah County is the Nov. 8, 2022, General Election. 

Main office:

Multnomah County Duniway-Lovejoy Elections Building

1040 S.E. Morrison St., Portland. OR 97214

Gresham location:

Closed until October 2022 for the next election!

Voting Center Express at the Multnomah County East Building

600 N.E. 8th St., Gresham, OR 97030

Phone: 503-988-VOTE (8683)

Email: elections@multco.us

Website: MultnomahVotes.gov.