Ballot returns for the May primary are arriving at a slower than expected pace in Clatsop County. But with four days left, including a weekend, until ballots are due Tuesday, elections officials are optimistic the pace will pick up.

As of this morning, the county had received 6,103 ballots out of a possible 20,325, or 30 percent.

“That seemed kind of low or slow coming in,” said Maeve Grimes, elections supervisor for the county. The numbers are about on par with other counties, she said. “I’m feeling OK.”

Clatsop County’s voter turnout for the election was anticipated to be fairly good for a primary because of the high-profile issues on the ballot. Those include Measure 4-156, which would raise property taxes by $0.165 per $1,000 of assessed home value to pay for a $14 million remodel and expansion of the Clatsop County Jail.

On top of that, five candidates are running for Clatsop County sheriff. They include the current Sheriff Tom Bergin, Senior Deputy Mike Nelson, Seaside Detective Steve Barnett, retired Deputy Bill Fuzia and Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Jim Pierce.

If no candidate wins by more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff election in November between the top two vote getters.

Ballot Measure 4-155 would ban the exhibition of exotic animals, particularly elephants, on county land. And Measure 4-157 asks voters in the Knappa-Svensen-Burnside Rural Fire Protection District to approve up to $695,000 in general obligation bonds to fund vehicle and equipment acquisitions.

There is also one contested election for a Clatsop County Board of Commissioners seat, for which Seaside resident John Dunzer is running against Gearhart resident Sarah Nebeker.

Ballots are due by 8 p.m. on election day. They can be dropped off at the following locations:

• Clatsop County Clerk’s Office, Public Services Building, 820 Exchange St., Astoria or the 24-hour drop box in front of office.

• Cannon Beach City Hall, 163 Gower St., Cannon Beach

• Gearhart City Hall, 698 Pacific Way, Gearhart

• Knappa High School, 41535 Old Highway 30, Knappa

• Seaside City Hall, 989 Broadway, Seaside

• Warrenton City Hall, 225 S. Main Ave., Warrenton

• Mist-Birkenfeld Fire Hall, 12525 Oregon Highway 202

• Clatskanie Library, 11 Lillich St., Clatskanie

Ballots that are mailed must be received by election day, and postmarks do not count.

Voters with difficulty voting because they are disabled or elderly can also take advantage of a pilot program unveiled by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office late last year and now expanded statewide.

The program allows people with limited visibility or mobility the opportunity to vote using an iPad in the privacy of their residence. Grimes said few people have used the program in Clatsop County, but it is available if anyone wants to use it.

“I try to encourage people, come out and try it,” Grimes said. “Just call us and we can work something out.” The phone number for Clatsop County Elections is (503) 325-8605.


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