Trust in the Security of Vote by Mail

October 6, 2020

Whether you return your ballot by mail or at an Official Ballot Drop Site — we’re ready, we got this!

A message from Multnomah County Elections

There is no doubt: We are in the midst of extraordinary and often vexing times. If you’re like many people — barraged by information at every turn — you may have questions, concerns or even angst about the upcoming Nov. 3, 2020 General Election.

Here at the Elections Division, we have fielded many questions. When will I get my ballot? What security measures are in place at Official Ballot Drop Sites? Will there be poll watchers or election observers at Official Ballot Drop Sites? How can I trust that my ballot will get to the Elections Division and be counted? 

First and most important, we want to assure you: Returning your ballot by mail or at an Official Ballot Drop Box remains a safe and effective way of getting your ballot to us. More than 20 years of conducting vote-by-mail elections gives us both experience and confidence that it works. In short, we’re ready, we got this!

Established security plans across elections infrastructure

Voters can also rest assured in the robust safety and security in place across all of Multnomah County Elections’ infrastructure. We have long-established partnerships with local law enforcement as well as the FBI and other federal partners to guard against potential threats. We work in tandem with the Secretary of State on safety and security plans as mandated by state law. Oregon also has a dedicated security and cybersecurity team that consists of the State Elections Division, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management, Oregon’s Chief Information Officer-Cyber Security Services, the Oregon National Guard, and the FBI.

We take great pride in the availability and security of our quarter-inch-thick, welded-steel Official Ballot Drop Boxes and our library drop sites. There are numerous security features in place at each of these sites, and we continually monitor them during the ballot mailing period. Ballots are transported in locked ballot containers by teams of sworn election workers. All Official Ballot Drop Sites, including library book returns, are staffed by sworn election workers. Tampering with any part of the election is a class C felony in Oregon. 

Election observers  

Oregon doesn’t have poll watchers in the traditional sense, but we do host election observers at the Elections Office on Southeast Morrison. We have a proud tradition of open, accessible and fair elections. Observers play an important role in the elections process and provide an objective review of the vote counting process. Due to COVID-19, we are limited in the number of people who can serve as an observer at any single time. For more information about election observation, please contact us at 503-988-VOTE (8683).

Steer Clear of Misinformation and Make A Plan to Vote

At the Elections Division, we have great confidence about the conduct and process of vote-by-mail elections, given our 20 years of success and safety. We are much more concerned about the misinformation, disinformation or mal-information that can flood social media and affect voter behavior in the weeks and days leading up to Nov.3. That’s why, in the next several weeks, we ask that you seek out trusted, credible, accurate information from trusted sources such as

We also ask that you Make a Plan to Vote! Take note of the important dates leading up to Nov. 3 General Election. 

  • Make sure you’re registered to vote by Oct.13. Check that your address and voter information are up-to-date and correct. You can do that online at or with an Oregon Voter Registration Card.

  • Ballots will be mailed on Oct. 14. If you haven’t received your ballot by Oct. 22, call the Elections Division at (503) 988-VOTE. 

  • Once you receive your ballot, vote it, don’t forget to sign the ballot envelope and return it. Return it early if you can. Find out where your nearest Official Ballot Drop Box or library location is and drop off your ballot. Or mail it back with free postage. Consider doing it right away. Mail your ballot back by Tuesday, Oct. 27 or return to your nearest Official Ballot Drop Site before 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, Election Night.

If you need to come to the elections office for a replacement ballot or other service, please note we are following physical distancing guidelines established by the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You must wear a face covering and maintain physical distance. 

Voters can also take comfort in one of our favorite features of Multnomah County’s Vote by Mail Election: the Track Your Ballot service. The service sends text, phone or email alerts when your ballot has been mailed to you and received and accepted by the Elections Division. 

You may find our frequently asked questions page useful. And If you have any questions, please do call the Elections Division at 503.988.VOTE.