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Columbia County elections department reported 45.2% of eligible voters cast ballots by Oct. 26

PMG PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - A voter drops their ballot off outside the Columbia County Courthouse ahead of the November 2018 election. Early ballot returns in Columbia County are up this election.

By Oct. 26, eight days before the Nov. 3 election, county elections staff had received 18,168 ballots.

Columbia County has 40,193 registered voters, according to data from the county election department.

That means that at least 45.2% of eligible voters had cast their ballots by Oct. 26.

In comparison, eight days before the November 2016 presidential election, Columbia County elections had received ballots from just 27.3% of eligible voters.

Because ballots are counted when they make it to the elections office, many more ballots may have been dropped off by voters but haven't yet made it through the mail or out of the ballot drop box.

Of the county's 12,289 registered Democrats, 59.8% had returned their ballots as of Oct. 26. Among Republicans, who number 11,522, local voter turnout was 48.3%.

In the Nov. 8, 2016 election, Columbia County ultimately saw 79.7% turnout. In that election, Donald Trump won Columbia County with 49.7% of the vote.

Though local voter turnout is up, it's still slightly below the statewide average. As of the morning of Oct. 27, 1,371,194 ballots had been received in Oregon, equalling 46.5% of eligible voters, state data shows. However, ballot pickup and counting schedules vary county-by-county, meaning that ballots may have been dropped off by voters, but not counted in time for the state's voter turnout update.


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