Election officials in Columbia County and across the state are preparing for the May 19 Oregon Primary Election.
The deadline to register to vote is April 28.
Oregon voters cast their ballots by mail. There are no polling places. Instead you can complete your ballot anywhere you choose.
According to the Oregon Elections Division, your county elections office will automatically mail you a ballot packet for every election that you are eligible to vote in. Inside the packet, you will find the ballot and instructions on how to complete and return the ballot.
For this election your ballot packet will automatically be mailed to you between April 29 and May 5. If you have not received your ballot packet by May 8, call your county elections office. You can reach the Columbia County Elections office at 503-397-7214.
Oregon Voter's Pamphlets were mailed out last week. An electronic version is available at the Oregon Elections Division at oregonvotes.gov. Both are designed to give voters a review of the candidates and ballot measures.
All Columbia County residents will vote on measure 5-281, the Columbia County Jail Levy Renewal. The levy is a renewal of the current levy, passed in 2014, of $0.5797 per $1,000 assessed property value for the next four years.
The jail levy is intended to keep the Columbia County Jail operating through Fiscal Year 2025.
“Prior to the 2014 jail levy, the county was releasing inmates due to a lack of funding,” the ballot measure explanatory statement reads.
“Early releases due to insufficient jail capacity were eliminated on March 12, 2015 and have not been required since,” it states.
St. Helens residents will vote on measure 5-282, the St. Helens School District 502 Bonds Measure.
The bond, set to be at $0.94 per $1,000 of property value, is expected to raise $55 million for safety and security improvements at St. Helens High School, as well as upgrading and repairing aging buildings, according to the measure’s explanatory statement.
In addition to measures, residents will vote on candidates for different elected positions.
There are seven people running for two positions for the Columbia County Board of Commission. For Position 1, incumbent Margaret Magruder is running against Wayne Mayo, Tricia Stockwell and Brandee Dudzic. For Position 3, incumbent Alex Tardif is challenged by Casey Garrett and Jeanne Correll.
If any position for Columbia County Commissioner results in a tie, there will be a run-off election in November.
Rainier residents will vote on measure 5-280, the Rainier Cemetery District Five Year Levy. The tax, $0.05 per $1,000 of assessed property value which would last for five years and begin in 2020/2021 would likely increase property taxes by more than three percent.
“Without this additional revenue, the district will be unable to replace equipment and hire additional staff required for the operation of the district’s twelve cemeteries,” the measure’s explanatory statement reads.
The tax rate is expected to raise $75,166 in 2020-21, $81,180 in 2021-22, $87, 674 in 2022-23, $94,688 in 2023-24 and $102,264 in 2023-25. The total over the five-year period would be $440,972.
Vernonia residents will decide measure 5-279, the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District Five Year Replacement Levy, which will replace a current levy, set to expire June 2021.
The district is currently funded through a property tax base.
According to the measure’s explanatory statement, the new levy would retain the district’s current level of response to emergencies. Additionally, it would allow the District to retain a training officer and employ a full-time operations officer.
There are also a total of 92 people running for 66 available positions as Precinct Committee Persons for both Republican and Democrat parties. Precinct Committee people serve as liaisons between their party’s candidates and their constituents.
Follow the Primary Election results here online and in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.