This is a nonpresidential election year, and the turnout so far in Central Oregon counties reflects that. As of Tuesday night, only 16 percent of Deschutes County voters had returned ballots.
The numbers were somewhat better in Crook (19 percent) and Jefferson (20 percent) counties, but still nothing to shout about. Two years ago, when President Barack Obama was elected to a second term, the turnout at about this time during primary season was 21 percent in Deschutes, 27 percent in Crook and 29 percent in Jefferson.
Yet there are important local decisions to be made across Central Oregon, from a hotly contested district attorney’s race in Deschutes County, to a proposal to make the Crook County commission and judge positions nonpartisan, to a pair of county commission races in Jefferson County.
Deschutes County voters, meanwhile, should remember that only Randy Miller and Thomas “T.J.” Spear are actually running for a position on the Deschutes County Circuit Court. Steven M. Kurzer, whose name appears on the ballot, has withdrawn from the contest.
Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to get ballots in, and starting today, they’d be wise to deliver rather than mail them. Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted, even if they’re postmarked before that. All three counties have a variety of sites where ballots can be dropped off, though in Redmond there’s been a change for this election: The Redmond City Hall drop-off site has been closed, although the site at the Redmond Public Library on Southwest Cascade Avenue is open 24/7 until 8 p.m. election day.
Here at The Bulletin, we are still accepting My Nickel’s Worth and In My View contributions related to the election. At this late date, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually be published. We are going to open up some space on Sunday’s pages to try to get them all in.
Contributions received now must make no new charges about candidates or ballot measures, because the election is too near to allow for a response to new claims.
Voters have only a few days left to return ballots this spring. They should do so.