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Home > State > Elections > Voting and Voter Registration

Voting and Voter Registration

Fireworks at the Waterfront Blues Festival on the Willamette River in Portland to celebrate the 4th of July. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

Fireworks at the Waterfront Blues Festival on the Willamette River in Portland to celebrate the 4th of July. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

Elections in Oregon
All regular elections in Oregon are held on one of four days each year, except in cases of emergency. The election days are:

• the second Tuesday in March,
• the third Tuesday in May,
• the third Tuesday in September, and
• the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Elections are conducted by mail. Voters who are registered as of the 21st day before an election are mailed a ballot to vote and return by election day. The use of vote-by-mail was first approved on a limited basis by the Legislature in 1981 and was made a permanent feature of some elections in 1987.


In 1998, Oregon voters amended state law to require that the primary and general elections in May and November of even-numbered years also be conducted through vote-by-mail. Beginning in 2000, primary and general elections have been conducted by mail. In 2007, the Legislature
provided that all elections will be conducted by mail. At the primary election, voters who are
registered in the major political parties, currently the Democratic and Republican parties, nominate candidates to run in the general election. All voters may vote on nonpartisan contests, such as judicial elections, which are also held at the primary election. Most statewide ballot measures are on the general election ballot.


Registering to Vote
Registration by mail was authorized by the 1975 Legislature and is now the method most people use to register to vote in Oregon. Forms are located in most banks and public buildings, in every county elections office and in many state agencies. Forms also can be obtained from the Office of the Secretary of State, Elections Division, 255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 501, Salem 97310.


Date of Election Deadline to Register*
March 1, 2015
February 17, 2015
May 19, 2015 April 28, 2015
September 15, 2015 August 28, 2015
November 3, 2015 October 13, 2015



*A voter registration card received in an elections office after the deadline date meets the registration deadline if it has a timely, valid postmark.


The federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 provided new, nationwide voter registration requirements for voting in federal elections.


To register to vote, a person must be a resident of Oregon and be able to answer “yes” to the following questions on the voter registration card:

• “Are you a citizen of the United States of America?” and
• “Are you at least 17 years of age?”

If you are 17 years of age, you will not receive a ballot until an election occurs on or after your 18th birthday. The 2007 Legislature passed HB 2910 to allow an otherwise qualified person, who is at least 17 years of age, to register to vote.


New laws require that people must provide identifying information to register to vote. A person registering to vote is asked to provide identification only if they are a new registrant in the state. Identification is not required for updates. As of January 1, 2006, individuals must provide a current, valid Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicles (DMV) Driver License or identification (ID) card. If the individual does not have a current, valid Oregon DMV Driver License/ID, the last four digits of the individual’s Social Security number must be provided. If the individual has neither a current, valid Oregon DMV Driver License/ID nor a Social Security number, the individual must affirm this and, if they are registering by mail, must provide a copy of one of the following:

• valid photo identification,
• paycheck stub,
• utility bill,
• bank statement,
• government document or
• proof of eligibility under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act or the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act.

If identification is not provided at the time of registration, it will be requested by election officials in order for the person to vote at the next federal election.


Oregon residents who are not U.S. citizens by the deadline to register to vote, but who will be citizens by election day, should contact their county elections office for information about how to register to vote.


Persons who become residents of Oregon after the deadline to register for a U.S. presidential election may be eligible to vote for U.S. president and vice president. Contact your county elections office for more information.



Persons registered to vote in other states may not transfer their voter registration to Oregon. To register to vote in Oregon, a person must complete either an Oregon voter registration card or a Federal Postcard Application, which is available in most states.



How to Maintain a Current Voter Registration
Registered voters must notify their county elections office in writing if:


• their residence or mailing address changes,
• their name changes or
• they wish to change political party affiliation.

A voter may notify county elections officials of changes to the above by sending a new voter
registration card to the appropriate county.


A voter may update voter registration information as late as election day and vote in that election.


If a voter has moved from one county in Oregon to another, the voter should fill out a voter registration card and send it to the new county elections office. If the voter registration card is sent after the 21st day before an election, the voter should call the county elections official to find out how to receive a ballot for that election.


Voting Absentee
Absentee ballots are mailed to military and other out-of-state voters in advance of the regular mailing of ballots. Voters should contact their local elections office to obtain an absentee ballot.


Voters’ Pamphlets
For each primary and general election and for most special elections, the Elections Division produces and distributes to every household one or more pamphlets containing information about candidates and measures that will appear on the ballot at the election. Many county elections offices also produce pamphlets that contain information about local candidates and measures.


2016 Filing Deadlines


•The candidate filing period for the May 17, 2016, primary election begins on September 10, 2015, and ends on March 8, 2016. The deadline for filing Voters’ Pamphlet material with the Elections Division is no sooner than January 18, 2016, and no later than March 10, 2016.


•The candidate filing period for the November 8, 2016, general election begins on June 1, 2016, and ends on August 30, 2016. The deadline for filing Voters’ Pamphlet material with the Elections Division is not sooner than July 11, 2016, and no later than August 30, 2016.

Office of the Secretary of State, Elections Division
Address: 255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 501, Salem 97310
Phone: 503-986-1518