GOLD BEACH – Curry County voters who have not returned their ballots for the May 15 Primary Election should deposit them at the drop boxes instead of mailing them, because it is too late to assure that they will arrive at the elections office in time through he mail, election officials said Friday.
“Please use the drop boxes. There’s no stamp required,” Chief Deputy County Clerk Connie Higgins said. “They are open 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. on election night.”
The elections office had received 4,958 ballots by Friday morning, or 37.71 percent. There are currently 13,147 registered voters.
Higgins said that compares to 32 percent at the same time two years ago and 41 percent four years ago.
By the time ballots were counted, 52 percent of registered voters had cast their ballots in 2010 and 61 percent in 2008.
She noted that 2008 was a presidential election years, like this year. More voters normally vote in the Primary Election on presidential election years. But Higgins said fewer do when there is an incumbent president on the ballot, like this year.
The 24-hour ballot drive-up drop boxes are located at Brookings and Port Orford city halls and next to the courthouse in Gold Beach.
The ballots also may be returned by mail, but there is no assurance they will reach the elections office by Tuesday’s deadline.
“Postmarks don’t count,” County Clerk Reneé Kolen said.
Local races on the primary ballot include two county commissioners races.
There are five candidates for Commissioner Position 2, now held by incumbent George Rhodes of Brookings. Those candidates are Rhodes, former commissioner Lucie La Bonté of Gold Beach, David Brock Smith of Port Orford, Randy Dubbs Dowler of Brookings and Leroy Blodgett of Brookings.
There are four candidates for Commissioner Position 3, now held by incumbent Commissioner Bill Waddle of Brookings. Those candidates are Waddle, the county’s former director of Economic Development Susan Brown of Gold Beach, Greg Empson of Gold Beach and John Herzog of Brookings.
Although all other current county officeholders are unopposed, only one appears on the primary ballot: County Assessor Jim Kolen, who will be declared elected following the primary election unless someone receives more write-in votes than he receives.
The other incumbent officers who are unopposed are Sheriff John Bishop, Treasurer Deborah Crumley and County Clerk Reneé Kolen. Kolen said those names will be on the November General Election, since there are not enough candidates to require a primary vote. She said that is because those three offices are constitutional officers, which, by law, must be elected in the November election.
Curry County District Attorney Everett Dial and Circuit Court Judge Jesse Margolis are also unopposed and appear on the primary ballot, but they are elected state officials and can be elected in the primary.
Residents of the Central Curry School District 1 also have a five-year local option levy for school operations on their ballot.