As Election Day draws ever closer, so does the amount of misinformation surrounding the process of voting.
It's probably only a matter of time before we hear about this scam: You get a phone call from someone claiming to be Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. He's noticed some "irregularities" with your ballot and has dispatched agents from his office to arrest you for election fraud — and the only way you can avoid arrest is to hand over some prepaid cash cards.
Actually, now that we outline that nonexistent scam, it does surprise us that we haven't heard about it. If you get that call, just hang up.
But that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of other election misinformation floating around the state in this last week before the Nov. 6 election. Richardson (in a legitimate news release) offered examples this week.
For example, he noted that some individuals and groups post outdated lists of ballot drop-off box locations. (This is particularly important now, because it's too late to mail your ballot to beat the 8 p.m. Tuesday deadline.)
Some of the groups listing outdated ballot box information may have good intentions, Richardson said, but others may be deliberately trying to mislead and confuse voters. If you want to see current lists of ballot drop-off sites, you can find that on the websites of the Linn and Benton county elections offices. (If you don't want to worry about that accessing those, just check out the online version of this editorial, which includes updated lists for both counties.)
Be on the lookout as well for some canards that pop up every election year: For example, it is not true, despite what you may be reading elsewhere, that voters registered with one party vote on Tuesday and that voters registered with another party vote on Wednesday. (Apparently, under this reasoning, voters who are not affiliated with any party never get the chance to vote.)
In any event, the whole thing is false, a canard, a damnable lie designed to confuse. Every Oregon voter faces the same deadline: Ballots have to be in the hands of election officials by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Those people lurking around drop-off boxes just before 8 p.m. Tuesday are most likely workers ready to carry off those last-minute ballots back to their elections offices. That, or Russian operatives. (Kidding; just kidding.)
If you wait to drop off your ballot until Wednesday, you're too late, regardless of the party with which you're affiliated.
Richardson also cautioned voters that some of the information they might be hearing comes from other states and may not be applicable in Oregon. For example, he said, some ballots in California will require two stamps to sail legally through the mail. But all ballots in Oregon will require just one stamp.
Of course, this stamp conversation is moot now: If you mail your ballot today, it likely will not arrive at elections offices in time. That's why you need to locate the drop-off box that's closest to your home or office and make plans to get there by Tuesday at 8 p.m.
And you might have been reading about the fussing going on in states like Georgia, which has been heavy-handed in terms of rejecting ballots when signatures don't match, and not giving voters a chance to dispute the rejections. That's not the way it works in Oregon; if a signature seems off-kilter to an elections worker, that voter is notified and given a chance to correct it. Still, your ballot deserves the best signature you can muster, not that scrawl that seems to work OK on your checks.
With all that said, turnout thus far across Oregon seems brisk. You have a few days yet to be sure that your ballot beats the deadline, but at this point in the election season, you'll just need to plan ahead a bit to join the crowd. (mm)