GOLD BEACH With 49 percent of ballots returned in Sheriff Kent Owens $2.6 million law levy, Tuesdays final election result is all but certain to meet the states 50 percent plus one vote requirement for valid tax increase measures.

Curry County Elections Coordinator Connie Higgins said of 13,618 registered voters, 6,732 had returned ballots as of 11 a.m. Friday.

Owens has said he wants the levy to be decided on its merits, and not by a lack of voter participation.

He also said this week that he doesnt believe the raises recently approved for elected officials will affect the outcome of the election.

He said those who use that as a reason to vote against the levy would probably not have voted for it anyway, and the others will vote on the merits of the proposal.

He believes the levy will be strongly supported in Harbor, but not in the North county, so the vote from within the city limits of Brookings could be crucial.

He said he has not given up, however, convincing North county citizens that they need and will receive courteous and professional service from their deputies.

Voters may drop off their ballots at the elections office in the basement of the Curry County Courthouse in Gold Beach from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Ballots may also be dropped off at city halls in Brookings and Port Orford from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

For information, call the county at (541) 247-7011 and ask for the elections office.