County second in ballot returns

By Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer November 02, 2012 10:35 pm

More than half of Curry County’s eligible voters – 52.5 percent, or 7,264 of Curry County’s 13,844 voters – have already cast ballots as of Thursday, according to the county’s clerk and elections website. 

Oregon’s Lake County has the highest return rate so far, with 53.6 percent.

Curry County citizens have fewer than 100 hours to take pen to ballot and vote in the The Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election.

 

Locally, thousands of dollars have been spent, untold miles have been trod going door to door and many a heated argument has arguably piqued interest among – or disgusted – voters in the run-up to Election Day.

In Curry County there are 5,698 Republicans registered in Curry County, 4,333 registered Democrats, 2,698 are nonaffiliated and 794 are Independent.

Statewide, 40.6 percent of voters, representing 896,294 people, had cast their ballots as of Nov. 1, according to the Secretary of State’s office online database.

Brookings mayor race

Running for mayor in Brookings is incumbent Ron Hedenskog and Insider magazine publisher Bruce Ellis.

Hedenskog hopes his lengthy experience in municipal work will impel voters to cast their ballots for him, while Ellis is touting his experience in marketing as a way to help Brookings attract visitors to the area.

“I am nothing if not about promoting the economy,” Ellis said last week. “I want to make this the tourism capital of Oregon. I don’t see why we can’t. I have a lot to bring people here.”

Hedenskog said the city needs to continue to address problems at the golf course, resolve medical care challenges, and deal with the possible repercussions of a fiscally tapped county on Brookings and Harbor.

“We’re moving along,” he said. “And the citizens of this community know I’m working for them.”

Curry County Commissioner race

Countywide, four candidates are running for two Curry County Commissioner seats, and include Lucie La Bonté and David Brock Smith vying for Commissioner George Rhode’s Position 2 seat, and Susan Brown and Greg Empson going for Commissioner Bill Waddle’s Position 3 chair.

Both Waddle and Rhodes were defeated in the spring primaries.

The nonpartisan board faces tremendous challenges, particularly regarding the county’s current financial situation. The county is part of the region’s O&C lands and, until this year, received federal funds for revenue generated on timber sales. Without that money, the county faces a fiscal conundrum, and has tried to preemptively address it through attrition, layoffs and spinning off of various departments to nonprofit organizations to make ends meet.

Collectively, the candidates have spent more than $26,000 to win voter approval.

As of Nov. 1, state filings indicate La Bonté has collected $6,019 and spent $5,915; Smith has had contributed to his campaign $11,445 and spent $8,590. Vying for the Position 3 seat has resulted in Brown garnering $2,310 and spending $1,921, and Empson collecting $1,925 and spending $9,263.

Those figures will change.

Some include monies left over from – and spent during – the primary election this spring, loans, and other funds that have yet to be reported.

Some candidates quit spending after the mail-in ballots were sent to voters – and many voters have already cast their votes.

According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, more than 8,500 Oregonians used the online system to register Oct. 15, the day before deadline. Nearly 20,000 citizens registered online Oct. 16, with the system tabulating 2,000 voters alone between 8 and 9 p.m.

Locally, white ballot drop boxes are located outside the city halls in Brookings and Port Orford and at the Curry County Courthouse in Gold Beach. Voters opting to mail them via U.S. mail must place a stamp on the envelope and give enough time to allow for delivery, meaning mailing it today could be too late.

Voters must also be sure to sign the voter statement on the return envelope.

“Don’t wait until the last minute,” said elections clerk Renee Kolen. “We’re close to the deadline. Please use the drop sites.”

The last day for registered electors to change voter information – in person at the county elections office – or drop off ballots in the white drop boxes is 8 p.m. Tuesday, when the polls close.

On election night, voters can keep track of the results online at www.currypilot.com or www.co.curry.or.us/clerk and follow prompts in Elections Division.

“We’re busy,” Kolen said. “This job gets in our blood. I’m always excited.”