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Newberg and Dundee voters can trust the safety and security of the boxes, officials explain

PMG FILE PHOTO - Ballot drop boxes are located throughout Newberg and Dundee, with four total boxes located at Dundee City Hall, Jaquith Park, the Newberg Public Safety Building and PCC Center.

One of our democracy's most sacred traditions, voting, is underway in Yamhill County and throughout Oregon. With vote by mail a universal practice in the Beaver State and made increasingly efficient this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, resources are widely available for those seeking to either drop their ballots off or mail them to county election officials.

Ballot drop boxes are located throughout Newberg and Dundee, with four total boxes located at Dundee City Hall, Jaquith Park, the Newberg Public Safety Building and PCC Center. Voters can also mail their ballots back to the county with no postage required – just follow the directions on the ballot and make sure to sign the return envelope where indicated.

According to Yamhill County Clerk Brian Van Bergen, information on the exact address of the ballot boxes is available on the county's website and in the voters pamphlet.

"There are a few places where Yamhill County voters can find our list of ballot drop boxes," Van Bergen explained in an email. "The best resource is our office's website. If a voter goes to our website at www.co.yamhill.or.us/clerk, they should scroll down a bit and look for the stack of links under the 'Elections' sub-header along the right-hand side navigation bar. The sixth line of links there is called 'Ballot Drop Sites/Locations'."

Voters can also go directly to www.co.yamhill.or.us/content/ballot-drop-sites. The list is also published on the back cover of the voters pamphlet on page 48. However, since the county binds its pamphlet in the center of the state's pamphlet, that is "not as easy to find for people," according to Van Bergen. People who want a printed version are typically pointed to the digital version of the voters' pamphlet, which is also on the county website.

Election security is of the upmost concern to voters during the 2020 election, when so much political vitriol exists on both sides about the safety of mail-in voting. Van Bergen sought to assure voters that not only is it safe and efficient to mail your ballot back to the county, but the drop boxes are fully safe and secure.

"Our office owns all of our official ballot drop boxes," Van Bergen said. "Only our paid staff have access to open and retrieve the contents of the boxes, and our teams that pick up ballots work in teams of at least two people from differing political parties.

"We never disclose the time, timing, frequency, nor routes our teams take when collecting ballots for security purposes. However, I can say without equivocation that it is always faster, more secure and cheaper for voters to use our drop boxes than the mail. Ballots picked up from our drop boxes come straight here to our office, get processed in our office and stay with our office for at least two years after the election."

For more information on the voting process and ballot drop boxes throughout the county, visit www.co.yamhill.or.us/clerk and click through the website's links on the subject.


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