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Voter registration hits all-time high

Jackson County voter registration for the Nov. 3 election has surged 13% higher than in 2016.

As of Monday, a record 161,801 people had registered compared to 143,301 in November 2016.

“Our registration is higher than it ever has been,” said Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker.

She predicts voter turnout of at least 80%, possibly even 85%.

“It’s going to be high, and it could be even higher,” she said. “The interest in this has been crazy.”

She credits the increased number of voters to heightened interest in this election and automatic voter registration when you update your information with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, known as the “motor voter law.”

During the primary election this year, 155,319 people were registered to vote, so more than 6,000 new registrations have been received since then.

Ballots started landing in Jackson County mailboxes over the weekend, and Walker said the last day to mail the ballots back is Tuesday, Oct. 27, seven calendar days prior to the election Nov. 3.

Walker said the U.S. Postal Service used to guarantee delivery of ballots five calendar days prior to election but has extended it to seven days.

If you can’t mail your ballot by that date, you can drop it into ballot boxes at libraries in Ashland, Central Point, Eagle Point, Medford, Phoenix and Rogue River. You can also put it in a ballot box inside Jackson County Elections, 1101 W. Main St., Suite 201, Medford, or in the ballot box outside at the curb.

All the outside ballot boxes are open 24 hours a day.

The deadline to drop your ballot in one of the official ballot boxes is 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Walker said voters need to remember to sign the outer envelope in order to get counted this election.

Walker said that despite concerns raised about recent cutbacks at the Postal Service just prior to the election, she continues to have confidence in its ability to return ballots.

“There’s a lot of misinformation with that,” she said. “They’re a great business partner.”

She said it was unfortunate that the Postal Service undertook several changes to its business practices so close to the election.

“It kind of did a disservice with the whole process,” she said.

Voter registration numbers show that more people have registered as nonaffiliated, meaning they don’t belong to any political party.

Nonaffiliated voters number 51,539, outpacing Republicans at 51,394 and Democrats at 47,425.

The Independent Party is the next largest party with 8,202 registrations.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.

Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch Ballots are dropped off at the Elections Office in Medford in May.